Patients with inflammatory bowel disease needed for COVID-19 vaccine study

COVID-19 Vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine.(Allison Baker)
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 7:28 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is searching for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for a study on these patients’ immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine.

UW explained IBD affects just over 1% of adults in the US and is a term for two conditions, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, that cause chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Patients with IBD usually take immunosuppressant drugs to treat the condition, becoming immunocompromised and at a higher risk for infection. Some immunosuppressants, like steroids, may even increase the risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19, researchers continued.

Dr. Freddy Caldera, who will lead the study, explained many of his patients with IBD are immunocompromised, but are younger and don’t have comorbidities.

“So, getting data from this group will help us better understand the impact of immunosuppressive regimens on the immune response to COVID 19 vaccines,” said Caldera.

Caldera added that it has been a rough year for his patients.

“Many of my patients have barely left their homes because of COVID-19 due to concerns that the virus may be devastating for them,” he said. “We need to make sure the vaccine is effective for them so they can feel safe when we resume some normal activities.”

Study researchers at University Hospital in Madison would draw blood from patients to examine their immune response to a COVID-19 vaccine, then evaluate the patients’ antibodies and T cells.

“The vaccines on the market are very effective for most people,” said Caldera. “We believe they will also create an immune response in people who are immunocompromised, but we need the data to be sure, since certain immunosuppressive medication may blunt the vaccine response.”

Researchers are looking to study 210 people who have IBD and have gotten, or plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Those who want to participate can reach out to the UW Clinical Research Office.

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