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31-03-2021 | COVID-19 | News

News in brief

Most RMD patients have antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: The majority of patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) develop detectable anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies after receiving their first dose of a messenger (m)RNA COVID-19 vaccine, US researchers report.

They caution, however, that the immune response may be compromised in patients taking certain lymphocyte-modulating treatment regimens.

These findings are based on an analysis of 123 patients with RMDs who were given their first dose of the Pfizer–BioNTech (BNT162b2) or Moderna (mRNA-1273) vaccine in January or February 2021. At a median of 22 days after vaccination, 74% of patients had detectable levels of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The 91 people with an antibody response were significantly younger than the 32 without, at a median of 46 versus 57 years.

Dorry Segev and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, say that almost all (94%) of the 17 patients on tumor necrosis factor inhibitor therapy had detectable antibodies, but the rates were lower among those taking rituximab (33% of six) or mycophenolate (27% of 11).

“[P]otential exploratory strategies to increase immunogenicity in this subgroup may involve adjustment in immunomodulatory therapy, dosage or timing around vaccination,” write Segev et al in a letter to the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

They caution that their study was limited by small patient numbers, and stress that “these are data on the first-dose response to a two-dose series” of vaccines.

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

31 March 2021: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Ann Rheum Dis 2021; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2021-220289