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New publication: How European research projects can support vaccination strategies

ORCHESTRA (“Connecting European Cohorts to Increase Common and Effective Response To SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic”) is an EU-funded project aiming to help rapidly advance the knowledge related to the prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 infection and the management of COVID-19 and its long-term sequelae.

The Clinical Study

Within ORCHESTRA there are four main studies formulated with different cohorts from a total of 18 countries worldwide, comprising of more than 600,000 individuals. These studies research “aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 infection specific to the population analysed, such as incidence of infection and identification of specific risk factors.” It also investigates the effect of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination including but not limited to the type and timing of vaccines, and impact of viral variants on effectiveness. ORCHESTRA uses harmonised data collection to assess the epidemiological, clinical, microbiological, immunological and genotypic aspects of the cohorts, as well as the environmental and socio-economic features.

See below, the 4 main studies that compose the ORCHESTRA project.

The Article

In this journal article the early results of the ORCHESTRA project are described, highlighting the benefits of "multiple, international, historical and prospective cohort studies" and specific results related to vaccination strategies.

The Results

The analysis of this data produced insights into the characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic with a special focus on the vaccine efficacy across four sub-groups in terms of serological response and breakthrough infections. Below are some of the findings from the research:

  • People living with HIV (PLWH) showed a low immune response to two doses of vaccines whereas an additional third dose elicited a strong response. The marker CD4 (a type of white blood cell) is strong predictor of immune response and can be used to develop further vaccine strategies in PLWH.

  • In organ transplant patients, those who received all three doses of mRNA-1273 (Moderna) showed a slightly higher probability of reaching immunisation and the lowest probability of developing a breakthrough infection.

  • A study of 64,000 healthcare workers (HCWs) from five European countries showed a cumulative incidence of breakthrough infections of 1.2%. A complete vaccination cycle reduced the risk of breakthrough infections as well as severity of infection.

  • For HCWs who work in COVID-19 units, their place of work did not present as an important risk factor for infection, owing to the measures in place regarding personal protection equipment as well as the higher perceived risks from the workers.

  • Results from a study on the national cohort in France produced results showing that seroprevalence rose from 4.5% in May 2020 to 6.2% in November 2020 with an uneven increase in 18-24-year-old (from 4.8% to 10.00% and in second generation immigrants (from 5.9% to 14.4%).

  • Results also sugeested chronic-fatigue-like Post Covid Condition (PCC) could be prevented by vaccination and early therapy with monoclonal antibodies during acute infection.

Due to its design and harmonised data collection, the ORCHESTRA project allows access to information across large cohorts quickly. It also demonstrates how EU-funded research can provide results that are multi-faceted and broad, ideal for the development of public health strategies, such as vaccine strategies.


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