Clinical Immunology/Immunodeficiency

Information for patients 

General information

PID UK (Primary Immunodeficiency UK) is a patient organisation that has produced useful information for patients with primary and secondary immunodeficiency.

The UK PIN (UK Primary Immunodeficiency Network), an organisation of specialist doctors in Clinical Immunology in the UK, is another useful source of information.

If you have been diagnosed with an immunodeficiency and are followed up by our department, please inform us if you are admitted to hospital for non-elective reasons (i.e. for emergencies like an infection), on 0117 4148392 or 0117 4148393. Please also let any other medical practitioners involved in your care about your immune deficiency.

COVID-19

We are advising our patients to follow government guidelines in terms of protecting themselves from COVID-19. These are updated regularly and can be found here. UK PIN also produces expert guidance on patients with immunodeficiency in relation to COVID-19. The British Association of Dermatologists has produced guidance for patients on immunosuppressive medications, as to who is more at risk from COVID-19. 

In general, it is advised that all patients with immune deficiency take special care in reducing their contacts and cleaning hands/home/workspaces regularly in order to prevent them from being infected with coronavirus.

Our services will flex according to the situation in the hospital and consultations may be performed by telephone or video call. Otherwise, information should be sought on the listed websites. 

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. temperature >37.8oC, a new continuous cough, or change in sense of taste or smell) then, as with other patients, you should follow government advice, stay at home and seek a COVID-19 nose/throat swab test. If positive, you should self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms. If you are due to come to the hospital for a routine appointment (e.g. immunoglobulin infusion) then you should not attend and reschedule your appointment.

Treatments for COVID-19 should you patients become infected are becoming available. For example, Ronapreve which is a drug given either as an injection into the vein or under the skin, and we expect oral antivirals to become available in the near future. If you have been diagnosed with an immunodeficiency and are followed up in our clinic, please urgently inform us if you test positive for COVID-19 (by PCR) as we may be able to assist in your accessing these medications if appropriate. Our immunology service is open office hours, Monday to Friday, and you can get in touch on the phone numbers above. Out of hours we would suggest that you contact NHS 111 to get advice. If you are unwell with COVID-19 infection then you may consider attending your local A&E.

 COVID-19 Vaccines

Useful information with regards to COVID-19 vaccines can be found from the government website, on the PID UK website and on the BSI (British Society of Immunology) websiteIndividuals who are severely immunosuppressed who have completed their primary course of 3 doses are now advised to have a booster dose, with a minimum of 3 months (rather than the 6 months previously recommended) between the third primary and booster dose. We do not yet know how effective COVID-19 vaccines are in immunocompromised individuals so we would advise our patients to continue to adhere to social distancing guidance (wear a face covering, remember hands, face, space and cut down on interactions with other people). The COV-AD study is a research study that is aiming at answering how effective COVID-19 vaccines are in an immunocompromised patient group- please contact the department on the phone numbers above if you would be interested in participating.

Information for GPs - Clinical Immunology/ Immunodeficiency Service

We run regular Adult Immunology/Immunodeficiency (and Allergy) clinics on Tuesday mornings, Thursday afternoons, and all day Friday reviewing patients referred (see Patient Referral Pathways) to our service with suspected or confirmed immune deficiency. Criteria and advice for whom to refer can be found on the Remedy website.

Our service provides replacement antibody therapy (immunoglobulin) to patients with confirmed antibody deficiency. This can be given in hospital (as a day case) or at home.

For patients with recurrent infections please try to confirm the nature of the infection before referral. For example, by sending relevant microbiological cultures, viral swab tests, taking the patient’s temperature, inflammatory markers, radiology etc.

 

Page updated 13/01/2022