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J Autoimmun ; 131: 102866, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1926607


Autoimmune systemic diseases (ASD) show impaired immunogenicity to COVID-19 vaccines. Our prospective observational multicenter study aimed at evaluating the seroconversion elicited by COVID-19 vaccine over the entire vaccination cycle including the booster dose. Among 478 unselected ASD patients originally evaluated at the end of the first vaccination cycle (time 1), 344 individuals were re-evaluated after a 6-month period (time 2), and 244 after the booster vaccine dose (time 3). The immunogenicity of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273) was assessed by measuring serum IgG-neutralizing antibody (NAb) on samples obtained at the three time points in both patients and 502 age-matched controls. In the 244 ASD group that received booster vaccine and monitored over the entire follow-up, the mean serum NAb levels (time 1, 2, and 3: 696.8 ± 52.68, 370.8 ± 41.92, and 1527 ± 74.16SD BAU/mL, respectively; p < 0.0001) were constantly lower compared to controls (p < 0.0001), but they significantly increased after the booster dose compared to the first two measurements (p < 0.0001). The percentage of patients with absent/suboptimal response to vaccine significantly decreased after the booster dose compared to the first and second evaluations (time 1, 2, and 3: from 28.2% to 46.3%, and to 7.8%, respectively; p < 0.0001). Of note, the percentage of patients with absent/suboptimal response after the booster dose was significantly higher compared to controls (19/244, 7.8% vs 1/502, 0.2%; p < 0.0001). Similarly, treatment with immune-modifiers increased the percentage of patients exhibiting absent/suboptimal response (16/122, 13.1% vs 3/122, 2.46%; p = 0.0031). Overall, the above findings indicate the usefulness of booster vaccine administration in ASD patients. Moreover, the persistence of a significantly higher percentage of individuals without effective seroconversion (7.8%), even after the booster dose, warrants for careful monitoring of NAb levels in all ASD patients to identify those with increased risk of infection. In this particularly frail patients' setting, tailored vaccination and/or therapeutic strategy are highly advisable.

COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Vaccination
Rheumatology (Oxford) ; 60(9): 4418-4427, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1193773


OBJECTIVES: The biomarkers of an immunological dysregulation due to a chronic HBV infection are indeed understudied. If untreated, this condition may evolve into liver impairment co-occurring with extrahepatic involvements. Here, we aim to identify a new panel of biomarkers [including immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclasses, RF, and Free Light Chains (FLCs)] that may be useful and reliable for clinical evaluation of HBV-related cryoglobulinemia. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed clinical data from 44 HBV-positive patients. The patients were stratified (according to the presence/absence of mixed cryoglobulinemia) into two groups: 22 with cryoglobulins (CGs) and 22 without CGs. Samples from 20 healthy blood donors (HDs) were used as negative controls. Serum samples were tested for IgG subclasses, RF (-IgM, -IgG, and -IgA type), and FLCs. RESULTS: We detected a strikingly different distribution of serum IgG subclasses between HDs and HBV-positive patients, together with different RF isotypes; in addition, FLCs were significantly increased in HBV-positive patients compared with HDs, while no significant difference was shown between HBV-positive patients with/without mixed cryoglobulinemia. CONCLUSION: The immune-inflammatory response triggered by HBV may be monitored by a peculiar profile of biomarkers. Our results open a new perspective in the precision medicine era; in these challenging times, they could also be employed to monitor the clinical course of those COVID-19 patients who are at high risk of HBV reactivation due to liver impairment and/or immunosuppressive therapies.

Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cryoglobulinemia/immunology , Cryoglobulinemia/virology , Hepatitis B virus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Disease Progression , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2