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Covid Poses Higher Risk Of Rare Brain Conditions Than Vaccines: Study

There have been reports of rare neurological complications associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines

Covid Poses Higher Risk Of Rare Brain Conditions Than Vaccines: Study
The study used what is known as a "self-controlled case series (SCCS)" design for analysis
  • The study analysed healthcare records of over 32 million people in England
  • Risk of neurological complications within 28 days of a first dose: Study
  • Risk from Covid higher than risk from vaccine: Study

London: COVID-19 is more likely to cause very rare neurological conditions than vaccination with the AstraZeneca or Pfizer preventives, according to a study led by the University of Oxford in the UK. There have been reports of rare neurological complications associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine on Monday, analysed anonymised healthcare records of over 32 million people across England.

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The researchers assessed the risk of developing neurological complications within 28 days of a first dose of either the AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield in India, or Pfizer preventive, or within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.

They found an increased, but low, risk of the rare neurological conditions Guillain-Barre syndrome and Bel”s palsy following a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and an increased but low risk of hemorrhagic stroke following a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

However, infection with COVID-19 was associated with a greater risk of developing neurological complications than receiving either vaccine, according to the researchers.

“This analysis provides important information about which neurological conditions could be linked with COVID-19 vaccination or infection,” said Professor Carol Coupland from the University of Nottingham, UK, one of the researchers involved in the study.

Overall, the findings from this study show that the risks of hospital admission with nervous system complications associated with COVID-19 infection are greater than the risks associated with COVID-19 vaccinations, Professor Coupland said.

The researchers found different risks for different types of neurological conditions depending on which vaccine people received.

However, these were substantially lower than the risks occurring in association with a positive COVID-19 PCR test.

For example, we estimate 145 excess cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome per 10 million people in the 28 days after a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, compared to 38 per 10 million for those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Martina Patone from the University of Oxford, and co-lead author of the study.

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The researchers noted that the initial clinical trials of the vaccines were not large enough to be able to detect very rare adverse neurological events — those that happen in less than 1 person out of 10,000.

The latest study was able to achieve this by looking at the real-world data from over 32 million healthcare records in England, they said.

The study used what is known as a “self-controlled case series (SCCS)” design.

An SCSS compares how often adverse events — in this case neurological complications – happen in different set windows of time.

The authors noted several limitations to the study, including that only risks associated with the first vaccine dose were examined.

Data on outcomes following second doses was limited at the time of this study since the vaccination programme in the UK is still underway.

The researchers could also not distinguish between different types of Guillain-Barre syndrome due to the way healthcare records were coded.

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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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