NIH launching study on rare allergic reactions to coronavirus vaccine

Officials at the National Institutes of Health are rushing to devise a study to find out why, in a few rare cases, people have had severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

The goal is to identify the component of the vaccine most likely to be responsible for these potentially life-threatening incidents, known as anaphylaxis. No cases have yet been associated with the other newly authorized vaccine, made by Moderna, but it is being administered to the general public for the first time this week and has similar components to the one developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

This is a challenging task for researchers, who hope to get an answer within a matter of weeks. The study will recruit volunteers who have had a history of severe allergic reactions and who will receive the vaccine under close clinical supervision, according to Daniel Rotrosen, director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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