With the announcement from JCVI and Welsh Government about the latest COVID-19 spring boosters for clinically vulnerable patients, a new study is looking into whether an antibody test can predict who has the greatest risk of severe COVID-19.

A simple finger-prick blood test to be done at home across a 12-month period, will allow researchers to analyse antibodies and the effectiveness of the boosters for patients with a wide range of medical conditions. The UK national Stravinsky study, which is being led in Wales by Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board, supported by Health and Care Research Wales and Cardiff University, is a remote study where people in Wales with the below conditions could self-refer online:

· Diabetes (Type 1 and 2)

· Neurological diseases (Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis)


· Cirrhosis

· Chronic respiratory conditions

· Down’s syndrome and learning disabilities.

· Chronic kidney disease

· Cardiac failure

· Recipient of systemic anti-cancer therapy

Extra booster vaccinations are not being given as part of the study; it is the antibody response to standard treatment for clinically vulnerable people which is being examined.

Dr Lucy Jones, Principal Investigator for the trial in Wales, said: “ I see vulnerable patients every day who are still anxious about the effects of contracting COVID-19. With suppressed immune systems, catching the virus could lead to overnight hospital stays and further complications.

“Immunosuppressed patients may need further treatment, and some may not have a strong antibody response after a booster. It’s very important to understand how the COVID vaccine can improve the strength and length of antibody protection in people with medical conditions, so we can focus our efforts and ensure our vaccine programme is as efficient and effective as possible.”

Dr Nicola Williams, National Director of Support and Delivery at Health and Care Research Wales, said: “This is an important study that will inform the vaccination programme for people living with a range of conditions. Wherever you live in Wales, if you have one of these conditions, please consider being part of the study.”

For more information visit www.immunology.org/partnerships/stravinsky or contact [email protected]