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J Neurol ; 269(8): 4000-4012, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1941616


BACKGROUND: Assessing the safety of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines and the effect of immunotherapies on the seroconversion rate in patients with autoimmune neurological conditions (ANC) is relevant to clinical practice. Our aim was to assess the antibody response to and safety of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in ANC. METHODS: This longitudinal study included ANC patients vaccinated with two doses of BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 between March and August 2021. Side effects were assessed 2-10 days after each dose. Neurological status and anti-spike receptor binding domain antibody levels were evaluated before vaccination and 4 weeks after the second dose. Healthcare-workers served as controls for antibody levels. RESULTS: We included 300 ANC patients (median age 52, IQR 40-65), and 347 healthcare-workers (median age 45, IQR 34-54). mRNA-1273 vaccine was associated with an increased risk of both local (OR 2.52 95% CI 1.45-4.39, p = 0.001) and systemic reactions (OR 2.51% CI 1.49-4.23, p = 0.001). The incidence of relapse was not different before and after vaccine (Incidence rate ratio 0.72, 95% CI 0.29-1.83). Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG were detected in 268 (89.9%) patients and in all controls (p < 0.0001). BNT162b2 vaccine (OR 8.84 95% CI 2.32-33.65, p = 0.001), anti-CD20 mAb (OR 0.004 95% CI 0.0007-0.026, p < 0.0001) and fingolimod (OR 0.036 95% CI 0.002-0.628, p = 0·023) were associated with an increased risk of not developing anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG. CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines were safe in a large group of ANC patients. Anti-CD20 and fingolimod treatment, as well as vaccination with the BNT162b2 vaccine, led to a reduced humoral response. These findings could inform vaccine policies in ANC patients undergoing immunotherapy.

Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Immunity, Humoral , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273 , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Fingolimod Hydrochloride , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Longitudinal Studies , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
Biomolecules ; 12(5)2022 04 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809689


Neurological symptoms are increasingly recognized in SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals. However, the neuropathogenesis remains unclear and it is not possible to define a specific damage pattern due to brain virus infection. In the present study, 33 cases of brain autopsies performed during the first (February-April 2020) and the second/third (November 2020-April 2021) pandemic waves are described. In all the cases, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was searched. Pathological findings are described and compared with those presently published.

COVID-19 , Adult , Autopsy , Brain , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
J Neurol ; 268(8): 2671-2675, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841658


OBJECTIVE: To report on efficacy and safety of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy in a case series of patients with COVID-19-related encephalopathy. METHODS: We retrospectively collected data on all patients with COVID-19 hospitalized at two Italian hospitals who developed encephalopathy during disease course and were treated with IVIg. RESULTS: Five patients (two females, mean age 66.8 years) developed encephalopathy after a mean of 12.6 days, since the onset of respiratory/constitutional symptoms related to COVID-19. Four patients suffered severe respiratory distress, three of which required invasive mechanical ventilation. Neurological manifestations included impaired consciousness, agitation, delirium, pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs. EEG demonstrated diffuse slowing in all patients. Brain MRI showed non-specific findings. CSF analysis revealed normal cell count and protein levels. In all subjects, RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 in CSF tested negative. IVIg at 0.4 g/kg/die was commenced 29.8 days (mean, range: 19-55 days) after encephalopathy onset, leading to complete electroclinical recovery in all patients, with an initial improvement of neuropsychiatric symptoms observed in 3.4 days (mean, range: 1-10 days). No adverse events related to IVIg were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary findings suggest that IVIg may represent a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19-associated encephalopathy. Clinical efficacy may be driven by the anti-inflammatory action of IVIg, associated with its anti-cytokine qualities.

Brain Diseases , COVID-19 , Aged , Brain Diseases/drug therapy , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulins, Intravenous , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2