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1.
Journal of Clinical Medicine ; 11(9):2565, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1820307

ABSTRACT

Mortality from COVID-19 among kidney transplant recipients (KTR) is high, and their response to three vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 is strongly impaired. We retrospectively analyzed the serological response of up to five doses of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in KTR from 27 December 2020 until 31 December 2021. Particularly, the influence of the different dose adjustment regimens for mycophenolic acid (MPA) on serological response to fourth vaccination was analyzed. In total, 4277 vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 in 1478 patients were analyzed. Serological response was 19.5% after 1203 basic immunizations, and increased to 29.4%, 55.6%, and 57.5% in response to 603 third, 250 fourth, and 40 fifth vaccinations, resulting in a cumulative response rate of 88.7%. In patients with calcineurin inhibitor and MPA maintenance immunosuppression, pausing MPA and adding 5 mg prednisolone equivalent before the fourth vaccination increased the serological response rate to 75% in comparison to the no dose adjustment (52%) or dose reduction (46%). Belatacept-treated patients had a response rate of 8.7% (4/46) after three vaccinations and 12.5% (3/25) after four vaccinations. Except for belatacept-treated patients, repeated SARS-CoV-2 vaccination of up to five times effectively induces serological response in kidney transplant recipients. It can be enhanced by pausing MPA at the time of vaccination.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-331656

ABSTRACT

Background: Mortality from COVID-19 among kidney transplant recipients (KTR) is high, and their response to three vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 is strongly impaired. Methods We retrospectively analyzed serological response of up to five doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in KTR from December 27, 2020, until December 31, 2021. Particularly, the influence of different dose adjustment regimens for mycophenolic acid (MPA) on serological response to fourth vaccination was analyzed. Results In total, 4.277 vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 in 1.478 patients were analyzed. Serological response was 19.5% after 1.203 basic immunizations, and increased to 29.4%, 55.6%, and 57.5% in response to 603 third, 250 fourth and 40 fifth vaccinations, resulting in a cumulative response rate of 88.7%. In patients with calcineurin inhibitor and MPA maintenance immunosuppression, pausing MPA and adding 5 mg prednisolone equivalent before the fourth vaccination increased serological response rate to 75% in comparison to no dose adjustment (52%) or dose reduction (46%). Belatacept-treated patients had a response rate of 8.7% (4/46) after three vaccinations and 12.5% (3/25) after four vaccinations. Conclusion Except for belatacept-treated patients, repeated SARS-CoV-2 vaccination of up to five times effectively induces serological response in kidney transplant recipients. It can be enhanced by pausing MPA at the time of vaccination.

3.
JCI Insight ; 2022 Mar 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765224

ABSTRACT

Transplant recipients exhibit an impaired protective immunity after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, potentially caused by mycophenolate (MPA) immunosuppression. Recent data from autoimmune patients suggest that temporary MPA hold might significantly improve booster vaccination outcomes. We applied a fourth dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to 29 kidney transplant recipients during temporary (5 weeks) MPA (n=28)/azathioprine (n=1) hold, who had not mounted a humoral immune-response to previous vaccinations. Seroconversion until day 32 after vaccination was observed in 76% of patients, associated with acquisition of virus neutralizing capacity. Interestingly, 21/25 (84%) CNI-treated patients responded, but only 1/4 Belatacept-treated patients. In line with humoral responses, counts and relative frequencies of spike receptor binding domain (RBD) specific B cells were significantly increased on day 7 after vaccination, with an increase in RBD specific CD27++CD38+ plasmablasts. Whereas overall proportions of spike-reactive CD4+ T cells remained unaltered after the fourth dose, frequencies were positively correlated with specific IgG levels. Importantly, antigen-specific proliferating Ki67+ and in vivo activated PD1+ T cells significantly increased after re-vaccination during MPA hold, whereas cytokine production and memory differentiation remained unaffected. In summary, antimetabolite hold augmented all arms of immunity during booster vaccination. These data suggest further studies of MMF hold in KTR.

4.
J Clin Med ; 11(6)2022 Mar 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1760679

ABSTRACT

Immunosuppression increases the risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Morbidity and mortality of this disease in kidney transplant patients are higher than in the general population. As the vaccination response of transplant patients is weak, serological monitoring was performed. In this cohort study, we analyzed the determinants of vaccination response. All patients had no history of COVID-19. With anti-spike IgG monitoring, 148 responders and 415 non-responders were identified. We compared both groups using multivariate analyses of the cohort and a sub-cohort of mycophenolic-acid-treated patients. We investigated the influence of patient characteristics, immunosuppression, and erythrocyte inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) activity. In responders, the time after transplantation was longer (13.5 vs. 8.5 years), the glomerular filtration rate was higher (56.9 vs. 47.8 mL/min/1.73 m2), and responders were younger (53.0 vs. 57.4 years). Heterologous vaccination was more effective than homologous vaccination. Calcineurin inhibitors plus mycophenolate reduced the seroconversion rate. No seroconversion was observed in belatacept patients. In mycophenolate-treated patients, IMPDH activity was a significantly better predictor of response than mycophenolate dose (AUC 0.84 vs. 0.62, p < 0.001). Immunosuppression strongly affects vaccine response. Modifications to immunosuppression should be considered in order to facilitate this response. Erythrocyte IMPDH activity can be used to guide mycophenolate treatment.

5.
J Am Soc Nephrol ; 2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566580

ABSTRACT

Background: Accumulating evidence suggests that solid organ transplant recipients, as opposed to the general population, show strongly impaired responsiveness towards standard SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-based vaccination, demanding alternative strategies for protection of this vulnerable group. Methods: In line with recent recommendations, a third dose of either heterologous ChAdOx1 (AstraZeneca) or homologous BNT162b2 (BioNTech) was administered to 25 kidney transplant recipients (KTR) without humoral response after 2 doses of BNT162b2, followed by analysis of serological responses and vaccine-specific B- and T-cell immunity. Results: 9/25 (36%) KTR under standard immunosuppressive treatment seroconverted until day 27 after the third vaccination, while one patient developed severe COVID-19 infection immediately after vaccination. Cellular analysis seven days after the third dose showed significantly elevated frequencies of viral spike protein receptor binding domain specific B cells in humoral responders as compared to non-responders. Likewise, portions of spike-reactive CD4+ T helper cells were significantly elevated in seroconverting patients. Furthermore, overall frequencies of IL-2+, IL-4+ and polyfunctional CD4+ T cells significantly increased after the third dose, whereas memory/effector differentiation remained unaffected. Conclusions: Our data suggest that a fraction of transplant recipients benefits from triple vaccination, where seroconversion is associated with quantitative and qualitative changes of cellular immunity. At the same time, the study highlights that modified vaccination approaches for immunosuppressed patients still remain an urgent medical need.

6.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 69(2): 221-226, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546411

ABSTRACT

West Nile Virus (WNV) infections are increasingly detected in birds and horses in central Europe, with the first mosquito-borne autochthonous human infection detected in Germany in 2019. Human infections are typically asymptomatic, with occasional severe neurological disease. Because of a low number of cases in central Europe, awareness regarding potential cases is low and WNV diagnostic testing is not routine. We tested cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from unsolved encephalitis and meningitis cases from Berlin from 2019 to 2020, and describe a WNV-encephalitis case in a 33-year-old kidney transplant recipient. The infectious course was resolved by serology, RT-PCR and sequencing of stored samples. Phylogenetic sequence analysis revealed a close relationship of the patient's WNV strain to German sequences from 2019 and 2020. A lack of travel history and patient self-isolation during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic suggest the infection was acquired in the patient's home or garden. Serological tests of four people sharing the living space were negative. Retrospective RT-PCR and WNV-IgM testing of 671 CSF samples from unsolved encephalitis and meningitis cases from Berlin detected no additional infections. The recent increase of WNV cases illustrates the importance of considering WNV in cases of meningoencephalitis, especially in immunocompromised patients, as described here. Proper education and communication and a revised diagnostic strategy will help to raise awareness and to detect future WNV infections.


Subject(s)
Kidney Transplantation , West Nile Fever , West Nile virus , Adult , Humans , West Nile Fever/diagnosis
7.
J Clin Invest ; 131(14)2021 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1311203

ABSTRACT

Novel mRNA-based vaccines have been proven to be powerful tools in combating the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, with BNT162b2 (trade name: Comirnaty) efficiently protecting individuals from COVID-19 across a broad age range. Still, it remains largely unknown how renal insufficiency and immunosuppressive medication affect development of vaccine-induced immunity. We therefore comprehensively analyzed humoral and cellular responses in kidney transplant recipients after the standard second vaccination dose. As opposed to all healthy vaccinees and the majority of hemodialysis patients, only 4 of 39 and 1 of 39 transplanted individuals showed IgA and IgG seroconversion at day 8 ± 1 after booster immunization, with minor changes until day 23 ± 5, respectively. Although most transplanted patients mounted spike-specific T helper cell responses, frequencies were significantly reduced compared with those in controls and dialysis patients and this was accompanied by a broad impairment in effector cytokine production, memory differentiation, and activation-related signatures. Spike-specific CD8+ T cell responses were less abundant than their CD4+ counterparts in healthy controls and hemodialysis patients and almost undetectable in transplant patients. Promotion of anti-HLA antibodies or acute rejection was not detected after vaccination. In summary, our data strongly suggest revised vaccination approaches in immunosuppressed patients, including individual immune monitoring for protection of this vulnerable group at risk of developing severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Kidney Transplantation/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Case-Control Studies , Cohort Studies , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunization, Secondary , Immunoglobulin A/biosynthesis , Immunoglobulin G/biosynthesis , Immunologic Memory , Immunosuppressive Agents/adverse effects , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , Middle Aged , Monitoring, Immunologic , Renal Dialysis/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Transplantation Immunology
8.
Transplant Proc ; 53(4): 1245-1248, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1030237

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Transplant recipients are prone to developing severe infections because of immunosuppression. Therefore, studying the manifestation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in transplant recipients is of particular importance. METHODS: One hundred twelve transplant patients consecutively visiting the outpatient department of 2 German transplant centers were included in this study after providing written informed consent. The patients were interviewed about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms and history. Nasopharyngeal swabs were analyzed by SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA were measured concomitantly in patient sera by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: The risk of severe COVID-19 according to 2 recent scores differed among the analyzed patients. All patients were well educated about their presumed higher risk of a severe COVID-19 and described performing self-isolation wherever possible. Nevertheless, 20 patients reported contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19 or who tested positive shortly thereafter (18%). Despite this relatively high exposure, no clinically relevant case of COVID-19 was reported. Though SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA were found in 3 patients (3%); 2 patients were asymptomatic and only 1 had mild COVID-19 symptoms and positive RT-PCR 4 weeks earlier. There were no occult SARS-CoV-2 infections, as demonstrated by negative PCR tests. CONCLUSION: Despite the high exposure level, the incidence of COVID-19 remained very low. Because of the differences in COVID-19 risk, balancing risk exposure and quality of life should be recommended.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Transplant Recipients/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Organ Transplantation , Prevalence , RNA, Viral/analysis , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
9.
J Clin Med ; 9(11)2020 Oct 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-895373

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 denotes a global health issue. Data regarding COVID-19 incidence in kidney transplant recipients (KTR) are sparse. From 19 March to 19 May 2020, we performed a systematic screening for COVID-19 in KTR. Tests included serum analysis for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using S protein-based immunofluorescence, anti-SARS-CoV-2 S1 immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin A (IgA) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and/or quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) from nasal-throat swabs. Outpatient serum samples from KTR with PCR confirmed COVID-19, and swab samples from recipients (+donors) undergoing kidney transplantation were analyzed. Out of 223 samples from outpatients, 13 patients were positive with solely anti-SARS-CoV-2-IgA and 3 with both anti-IgA and anti-IgG. In total, 53 patients were symptomatic in the past, but positive results could be found in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. After an in depth analysis using immunofluorescence and neutralization tests in 2 KTR, recent COVID-19 infection remained highly suspicious. Apart from outpatient visits, only 5 out of 2044 KTR were symptomatic and tested positive via PCR, of which 4 recovered and one died. All patients showed seroconversion during the course of the disease. This study demonstrated a low seroprevalence in a German KTR cohort, and seroconversion of IgA and IgG after COVID-19 could be demonstrated. Effective containment strategies enabled us to continue our transplant program.

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