SOAP Study: How effective is the COVID Vaccine for MDS patients?

Dr Austin Kulasekararaj, from King’s College Hospital, presented a preliminary analysis of the results

King's College Hospital has been monitoring 38 MDS patients, as part of the SOAP study.

The study has been measuring how effective the vaccines are in blood cancer patients and, specifically in these MDS patients, as initial results shown that COVID-19 vaccines may not be as effective in these patients as in the general population.

The study's patient population (click to enlarge)

The study measured whether these MDS patients were able to generate antibodies and T-cells to protect them from the COVID-19 virus. The median age of the MDS/CMML patients was 67 years.

It then compared these results to the results of a group of 26 healthy volunteers with a median age of 36 years.

Dr Austin Kulasekararaj, from King’s College Hospital, presented us with a preliminary analysis of the results at a Zoom meeting on Thursday 14th Oct.

Watch Dr. Austin Kulasekararaj presenting a preliminary analysis of the SOAP Study results

Have MDS patients produced antibodies as a result of having been vaccinated?

Regarding antibodies, all healthy volunteers produced antibodies as a result of having been vaccinated.

Among MDS patients, all those vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine generated antibodies, whereas 5 MDS patients vaccinated with the Oxford vaccine didn't. The specific results for each brand of the vaccines, however, are not conclusive due to the small numbers of patients in each vaccine group.

Were these antibodies effective against the different variants of the COVID-19 virus?

In other words, when people created antibodies, whether by way of the Pfizer or the Oxford vaccine, were these able to neutralise the virus?

In the case of some MDS patients, these antibodies did not seem as effective as in healthy volunteers, in particular to offer protection against the Delta variant.

Dr. Austin Kulasekararaj

"In one way or the other, there is a protection offered to reduce the risk of complications associated with COVID-19"

Have MDS patients produced T-Cells as a result of having been vaccinated?

T-Cells are another element of our immune system.

20 out of 21 healthy volunteers produced T-cells as a result of having been vaccinated.

Among MDS patients, 10 out of 14 patients vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine generated T-cells, and 12 out of 17 MDS patients vaccinated with the Oxford vaccine generated T-cells, a very similar response for both vaccines against the Delta variant.

Combining antibody and T-cell response

In the case of some MDS patients, 60% of MDS patients were shown to have both an antibody response AND a T-cell response to vaccines, as compared with 95% of healthy volunteers.

Some patients will have only antibody response, whereas some will have only T-cell response.  When you look at this single response (either antibodies or T-cells ) up to 86% of patients have generated a response.

What are the practical implications for MDS patients?

  1. A third dose should be given to MDS patients as the majority have a positive response to the vaccine.
  2. Since the vaccines are not 100% effective, MDS patients need to remain extremely cautious, avoiding exposure to a big group of people, etc.
  3. A third primary dose is likely to increase protection among MDS patients.

The study will continue to monitor this group of patients prior to their third vaccine and post their vaccination.

Free donations by shopping

Sign-up to Download our Free Patient Handbook!

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

MDS UK Patient Support Group will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates.