Low clinical utility of testing for anti?platelet factor 4 in asymptomatic individuals after ChAdOx1 nCoV?19 vaccine


The development of anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4) antibodies is linked to a rare thrombotic complication described now as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). This clinical syndrome with thrombosis and thrombocytopenia was reported after exposure to the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222), and Ad26.COV2.S vaccine (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson). In the absence of the clinical features, the incidence of positive anti-PF4 antibodies in asymptomatic individuals post-vaccination is unclear.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the development of anti-PF4 antibodies in asymptomatic individuals 14–21 days after receiving the first dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) and BNT162b2 vaccine. Prospectively, we collected serum from individuals before and after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and BNT162b2 vaccine and measured anti-PF4 antibodies using the Asserachrom HPIA IgG ELISA (Stago, Asnieres, France).


We detected positive anti-PF4 antibodies in 5 of 94 asymptomatic individuals post-vaccine with a rate of 5.3% with low titers (OD 0.3–0.7). Four of 5 individuals who tested positive after the vaccine had also positive anti-PF4 antibodies before the vaccine, which indicates that a majority of the positive results are due to preexisting anti-PF4 antibodies. We did not find a relation between the development of anti-PF4 antibodies and the immune response to the vaccine, status of prior COVID-19 infection, and baseline characteristics of participants. None of the participants developed thrombosis nor thrombocytopenia.


Our results provide new evidence to guide the diagnostic algorithm of suspected cases of VITT. In the absence of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia, there is a low utility of testing for anti-PF4 antibodies.