An international team of researchers from Cardiff and the US have found that a protein in the blood is attracted to a component in the vaccine.
They believe this may spark a chain reaction in the immune system which can culminate in the development of blood clots – a condition known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).
What was said about AZ jab’s links to rare blood clots
Professor Alan Parker, from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, said: “VITT only happens in extremely rare cases because a chain of complex events needs to take place to trigger this ultra-rare side effect.
“Our data confirms PF4 can bind to adenoviruses, an important step in unravelling the mechanism underlying VITT. Establishing a mechanism could help to prevent and treat this disorder.
“We hope our findings can be used to better understand the rare side effects of these new vaccines – and potentially to design new and improved vaccines to turn the tide on this global pandemic,” he added.
AZ: ‘Findings offer insights into this rare side effect’
Scientists from AstraZeneca also took part in the research, which was published in the journal Science Advances.
A spokeswoman for the company told the BBC: “Although the research is not definitive, it offers interesting insights and AstraZeneca is exploring ways to leverage these findings as part of our efforts to remove this extremely rare side effect.”
A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com