European Scientists Say They Know Why AstraZeneca’s Vaccine Is Causing Rare Blood Clots

Researchers in Germany and Norway say they’ve isolated the cause of extremely rare blood clots caused by AstraZeneca’s vaccine, allowing doctors to treat it.

Vials of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are stored in the fridge at the Tor Vergata Vaccine Hub on … [+]

Scientists at Greifswald University Hospital said in a statement Friday that in rare instances, the vaccine has created an antibody that triggered the formation of blood clots in the brain.

The findings confirm those from an independent team in Norway earlier this week.

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Isolating the cause has allowed scientists to identify how to treat patients who have developed the blot clots, by giving them intravenous immunoglobulin, which targets the antibody, and blood thinners.

“Very, very few people will develop this complication,” Professor Andreas Greinacher said in a press conference Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal. “But if it happens, we now know how to treat the patients.”

Several European countries this week briefly halted use of the vaccine over fears of blood clots, which have been reported 37 times among the 17 million inoculated with the vaccine. The countries resumed use after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) determined the AstraZeneca vaccine was “safe and effective” and that the benefits outweigh the potential risks. Still, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland have decided to keep the vaccine on hold until more research is done and public health experts worry the debacle will erode confidence in vaccines more generally.

I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

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