A McMaster University lab that’s studied clots for decades has become key to the country’s efforts
For decades, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., has been a hub for research on blood and its diseases — known as hematology — but in recent weeks it has taken on an even more prominent role in the field: working to identify the rare blood-clotting syndrome linked to certain COVID-19 vaccines.
The lab, a small space on the third floor of the university hospital, is the only one in Canada with the equipment and expertise to test for the syndrome, known as vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia, or VIPIT.
“It’s not that huge, but it is the centre of the country right now,” said Dr. Ishac Nazy, associate professor of medicine at McMaster and director of the McMaster Platelet Immunology Laboratory.
“When we realized that this was an issue, we set up a mechanism whereby if anyone in the country suspected that this would be the case, they sent us a sample and we processed that as quickly as possible.”
So far, the lab has only tested about a dozen samples from across the country that are potentially linked to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. The test is completed within 24 to 48 hours.
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