COVID-19: QCovid tool’s new algorithm identifies those most at-risk from coronavirus after vaccination

A tool to calculate a person’s risk from COVID-19 has been updated to include who could be susceptible to serious complications, even if they have been fully vaccinated.

It found that the elderly, men and people from certain ethnic minorities were most likely to end up in hospital or die due to the coronavirus.

Last year, the team behind the QCovid tool used data from more than 6 million people to design an algorithm which could predict COVID outcomes.

This research helped identify an extra 1.5 million people for the government’s shielding list in February this year.

Now, the analysis of 6.9 million people who received two shots of the vaccine allows for a prediction of who may be more susceptible even after their inoculations.

The University of Oxford team hope this will help identify those who may need booster shots or other additional treatment.

The formula is based on people who are more than 14 days past their second dose.

The scientists caution that the small number of people dying or being hospitalised after two doses of a vaccine means it is difficult to say if the risk level is different compared to single-jabbed people.

Out of the 6.9 million people studied for the new paper – to be published in the British Medical Journal – 5.2 million had a double dose of a vaccine, which is representative of the UK population.

The sample included 2,031 COVID deaths and 1,929 hospitalisations – of which 81 deaths and 71 admissions were a fortnight after the second jab.

There was no distinction between which vaccine people had.

The authors also say their study was limited by the fact it did not take into account factors such as exposure, as things like occupation are not often on medical records.

Speaking about the variation of risk by ethnicity, co-author Professor Aziz Sheikh said: "I think the fact that some of the ethnic variations are diminishing suggests that a lot of this was because it’s socially patterned – perhaps because of occupational risk considerations etc.

"I think with the two subgroups that remain, this is speculative, but these groups – the Indians and Pakistanis – do tend to have slightly higher household sizes and so there may be that kind of within household transmission going on."

He added: "Our new QCovid tool, developed with the help of experts from across the UK, has been designed to identify those at high risk who may benefit from interventions such as vaccine booster doses or new treatments such as monoclonal antibodies, which can help reduce the risk of progression SARS-CoV-2 infection to serious COVID-19 outcomes."

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