Scientists believe they may have found the “trigger” behind the extremely rare blood clot complications stemming from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The team – in Cardiff and the US – have shown in exquisite detail how a protein in the blood is attracted to a key component of the vaccine.
They think this kicks off a chain reaction, involving the immune system, that can culminate in dangerous clots.
Professor Alan Parker, from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, said: “[This] only happens in extremely rare cases because a chain of complex events needs to take place to trigger this ultra-rare side effect.”
“We hope our findings can be used to better understand the rare side effects of these new vaccines – and potentially to design new and improved vaccines to turn the tide on this global pandemic,” he added.
A spokesman for AstraZenaca told the BBC: “Although the research is not definitive, it offers interesting insights and AstraZeneca is exploring ways to leverage these findings as part of our efforts to remove this extremely rare side effect.”