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Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases ; 81:1693, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2009087


Background: Patients with systemic autoimmune diseases (SADs) are often treated with drugs that interfere with the immune system and previous data showed a reduced seroconversion rate after anti-SARS-CoV2 vaccine in these subjects compared to healthy controls1. Administration of a booster dose of the vaccine could be particularly important in these patients, but data available to date are still scarce. Objectives: To evaluate the antibody response to the booster dose of mRNA SARS-CoV2 vaccine in patients with SADs and to compare it to the response after completion of the frst vaccination course. Secondly, to fnd possible correlations between a low antibody titre and patients' clinical features, with special regard to ongoing immunosuppressive therapies. Methods: Consecutive patients with an established diagnosis of SADs undergoing SARS-CoV2 vaccine were prospectively enrolled from January 2021;among them, we selected the patients who received the third vaccination dose between September and December 2021. Demographic and clinical data were collected at enrolment (sex, age, diagnosis, disease duration, ongoing therapies, previous SARS-CoV2 infection, presence of hypogammaglobulinemia);the last three elements were reassessed at each follow-up visit. Blood samples were collected 4 weeks both after the second (W4a) and the third (W4b) dose of the vaccine;a minority of patients was also tested 12 weeks after the second dose (W12). IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) and neutralizing antibodies inhibiting the interaction between RBD and angiotensin converting enzyme 2 were evaluated. IgG anti-RBD were detected by solid phase assay on plates coated with recombinant RBD, while neutralising antibodies by using the kit SPIA (Spike Protein Inhibition Assay). Cut-off values were defned as the 97.5th percentile of a pre-vaccine healthy population. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Statistics 20 and GraphPad Prism statistical packages. P values <0.05 were considered signifcant. Results: Forty-five patients (95.6% female;mean age ±SD 55.6±14.1 years;mean disease duration 12.9±10.6 years) were enrolled. Diagnosis was in most cases connective tissue disease (31/45, 68.9%), followed by infammatory arthritis (11/45, 24.4%) and systemic vasculitis (3/45, 6.7%). Two patients (4.4%) had a previous SARS-CoV2 infection and three had hypogammaglobulinemia (6.7%). At the time of the second dose, 18/45 patients were treated with glucocorticoids (GCs) [mean daily 6-methylprednisolone (6MP) dose 3.9 mg (min. 2, max. 14)], 17/45 with conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (csDMARDs) and 12/45 with biologic DMARDs (bDMARDs). At the third dose administration, 19/45 patients were treated with GCs [mean daily 6MP dose 4.1 mg (min. 1.5, max. 10)], 18/45 with csDMARDs and 13/45 with bDMARDs. Anti-RBD IgG were positive in 42/45 patients (93.3%) at W4a, in 16/18 (88.9%) at W12 and in 42/45 (93.3%) at W4b. Neutralizing antibodies were present in 38/45 patients (84.4%) at W4a, in 14/18 (77.8%) at W12 and in 42/45 (93.3%) at W4b. Both anti-RBD IgG titers and neutralizing antibody titers signifcantly increased after the third dose if compared to W4a (p<0.0001 both) (Figure 1). Interestingly, of the 7 patients who had not developed an adequate neutralizing antibody response after the frst vaccination course, 5 mounted an adequate titer after the booster. Two non-responder patients were both on combination therapy (one with low dose of GCs plus mycophenolate mofetil, the other with methotrexate and infiximab). Conclusion: Our data suggest that in patients with SADs there is a decline in the antibody titers developed after COVID-19 vaccination, however the booster dose is effective in restoring an adequate antibody titre. These data consolidate the importance of a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccination in patients with SADs to aid in the generation of an immune response.

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases ; 81:948-949, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2008966


Background: Since the COVID-19 vaccination campaign was launched all over Europe, there has been general agreement on how benefts of SARS-CoV2 vaccines outweigh the risks in patients with rare connective tissue diseases (rCTDs). Yet, there is still limited evidence regarding safety and efficacy of such vaccines in these patients, especially in the long-term. For this reason, in the framework of ERN-ReCONNET, an observational long-term study (VACCINATE) was designed in order to explore the long-term outcome of COVID-19 vaccination in rCTDs patients. The consent form was developed thanks to the involvement of the ERN ReCONNET ePAG Advocates (European Patients Advocacy Group). Objectives: To evaluate the safety profile of COVID-19 vaccination in rCTDs patients and the potential impact on disease activity. Primary endpoints were the prevalence of adverse events (AEs) and of disease exacerbations post-vaccination. Secondary endpoints were the proportion of serious adverse events (SAEs) and adverse events of special interest for COVID-19 (adapted from AESI-update-23Dec2020-review-fnal.pdf) Methods: The frst ad-interim analysis of the VACCINATE study involved 9 ERN-ReCONNET Network centres. Patients over 18 years of age with a known rCTD and who received vaccine against COVID-19 were eligible for recruitment. Demographic data and diagnoses were collected at the time of enrolment, while the appearance of AEs and potential disease exacerbations were monitored after one week from each vaccination dose, and then after 4, 12 and 24 weeks from the second dose. A disease exacerbation was defned as at least one of the following: new manifestations attributable to disease activity, hospital-ization, increase in PGA from previous evaluation, addition of corticosteroids or immunosuppressants. Results: A cohort of 300 patients (261 females, mean age 52, range 18-85) was recruited. Systemic lupus erythematosus (44%) and systemic sclerosis (16%) were the most frequent diagnoses, followed by Sjogren's syndrome (SS,12%), idiopathic infammatory myositis (IMM,10%), undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD,8%), mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD,4%), Ehlers-Dan-los's syndrome (EDS,4%), antiphospholipid syndrome (APS,2%). AEs appearing 7 days after the frst and second doses were reported in 93 (31%) and 96 (32%) patients respectively, mainly represented by fatigue, injection site reaction, headache, fever and myalgia. Otitis, urticaria, Herpes Simplex-related rash, stomatitis, migraine with aura, vertigo, tinnitus and sleepiness were reported with very low frequency. Less than 2% of patients experienced AEs within 24 weeks from the second dose. No SAEs or AEs of special interest were observed in the study period. There were 25 disease exacerbations (8%), 7 of which severe. The highest number of exacerbations was observed after 4 weeks from the second dose (12 within week 4, 6 within week 12 and 7 within week 24). Disease exacerbation was most frequent in patients with EDS (33%) and MCTD (25%). Conclusion: This preliminary analysis shows that COVID-19 vaccination is safe in rCTDs patients. AEs appear most often early after vaccination and are usually mild. Disease exacerbations are not frequent, but can be potentially severe and tend to occur most frequently within the frst month after vaccination. Exacerbations can also occur 3-6 months after vaccination, although a causal relationship with the vaccination remains to be established. Our present data underline the importance of long-term observational studies.