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2.
Liver Transpl ; 2021 Nov 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1568241

ABSTRACT

The BNT162b2 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been shown to be safe and effective in immunocompetent patients. The safety and efficacy of this vaccine in liver transplantation (LT) recipients is still under evaluation. The objective of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 vaccine among transplant recipients. The immune responses of 76 LT recipients receiving 2 doses of the vaccine were compared with those of 174 age-matched immunocompetent controls. Postvaccination immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 and neutralizing antibodies (NA) to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine were determined at least 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine. IgG antibody titers ≥1.1 were defined as positive antibodies. Adverse effects were monitored during the study period. Following administration of the second dose, transplant recipients showed reduced immune responses compared with controls (72% versus 94.2%; P < 0.001). At a median time of 38 days after the second vaccination, the geometric mean of RBD IgG and NA titers were 2.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6-2.6) and 150 (95% CI, 96-234) among transplant recipients and 4.6 (95% CI, 4.1-5.1) and 429 (95% CI, 350-528) in the control group, respectively (P < 0.001). Antibody responses were lower in transplant recipients who were receiving combined immunosuppression therapy and in those with impaired renal function. Among the LT recipients with negative antibody responses, 1 became infected with SARS-CoV-2, but no recipients with positive antibody responses became infected. Overall, most (n = 39 [51%]) adverse effects self-reported by transplant recipients were mild and occurred more often in women than in men. Compared with patients who were immunocompetent, LT recipients had lower immune responses. The durability of immune responses to the BNT162b2 vaccine among LT recipients requires further investigation.

3.
Blood ; 2021 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551192

ABSTRACT

Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have an impaired antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination. Here, we evaluated the antibody response to a third BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in patients with CLL/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) who failed to achieve a humoral response after standard two-dose vaccination regimen. Anti-SARS-CoV-2S and neutralizing antibodies were measured 3 weeks after administration of the third dose. In 172 patients with CLL the antibody response rate was 23.8%. Response rate among actively treated patients (12.0%, n=12/100) was lower compared to treatment-naïve patients (40.0%, n=16/40; OR=4.9, 95% CI 1.9-12.9; p<0.001) and patients off-therapy (40.6%, n=13/32; OR=5.0, 95% CI 1.8-14.1; p<0.001), (p<0.001). In those actively treated with BTK inhibitors or venetoclax ± anti-CD20 antibody, response rates were extremely low (15.3%, n=9/59 and 7.7%, n=3/39, respectively). Only one of the 28 patients (3.6%) treated with anti-CD20 antibodies <12 months prior to vaccination responded. The anti-SARS-CoV-2S antibody levels correlated linearly with neutralizing antibody titers (r=0.732, p<0.001). In a multivariate analysis, the independent variables that were associated with response included lack of active therapy (OR=5.6, 95% CI 2.3-13.8; p<0.001) and serum IgA levels ≥80 mg/dL (OR=5.8, 95% CI 2.1-15.9; p<0.001) In conclusion, in patients with CLL/SLL who failed to achieve a humoral response after standard two-dose BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination regimen, close to a quarter responded to the third dose of vaccine. The antibody response rates were lower during active treatment and in patients with a recent exposure (<12 months prior to vaccination) to anti-CD20 therapy.

4.
J Infect Dis ; 2021 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545984

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite high vaccine coverage, an increase in breakthrough COVID-19 infections, prompted administration of a third BNT162b2 dose to people>60 years in Israel since July 2021. Here, we report real-world immunogenicity following third dose. METHODS: Overall, 208 healthcare workers aged>60 were included. Paired pre- and post-second and/or -third dose IgG and neutralizing-antibody titers were compared. A subpopulation of low-responders to the second dose were also tested for T-cell activation. For 25 paired serum samples we tested neutralization of wild-type vs. neutralization of delta and lambda variants, pre- and post-third dose. Active surveillance of vaccine adverse-events was conducted through surveys. RESULTS: A pronounced immune response was observed following the third dose, including a 33-fold and 51-fold increase in IgG and neutralizing ab, respectively. The neutralizing antibody levels post-third-dose were 9.34 times higher than post-second-dose (GMT 2598 95%CI 2085-3237 vs. 207 95%CI 126-339). Nine previously low-responders, had a significant antibody increase post-third-dose, and 7/9 showed increase in T cell activation. Additionally, sera obtained post-third-dose, highly and comparably neutralized the wild-type, delta and lambda variants. Of 1056 responders to the adverse-event survey, none had serious events. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate a rapid and broad immune response to the third BNT162b2 dose in individuals>60 years.

5.
Transplantation ; 105(11): e234-e243, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1494154

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Data about SARS-CoV-2 vaccines efficacy in renal transplant recipients (RTR) are lacking. METHODS: To reveal predictors for humoral response to BNT162b2 vaccine among RTR, patients were divided into positive (N = 42) and negative (N = 78) response groups based on receptor-binding domain (RBD) immunoglobulin G (IgG) ≥1.1 and neutralizing antibodies (NA) ≥16 dilution versus RBD IgG <1.1 or NA <16, respectively. NA were detected using a SARS-CoV-2 pseudo-virus. RESULTS: NA were detected in only 42 of 120 (35%) of RTR versus 197 of 202 (97.5%) immunocompetent controls (P < 0.001). NA geometric mean titers in RTR were significantly lower versus the control group {83.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 50.5-138.8) versus 482 (95% CI, 411-566), P < 0.001}. In a multivariable analysis, mycophenolic acid (MPA) dose and hemoglobin level were found to be independent predictors for antibody response in RTR. A positive response rate of 27% versus 63% was observed in patients on and off MPA, respectively. An increase in MPA dose by 1 mg/kg weight reduced the odds for a positive response by 17% (odds ratio = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.75-0.92; P < 0.001). Geometric mean titers for RBD IgG were significantly reduced as MPA daily dose increased. Hemoglobin blood level <13 g/dL reduced the antibody response by 63% (P = 0.04). Pain at the injection site after the second vaccine dose was significantly higher in the responders versus nonresponders (20.5% versus 5.5%, P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Only 35% of RTR develop NA to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. MPA is a major suppressor of antibody response in RTR.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/drug effects , Kidney Transplantation/adverse effects , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cohort Studies , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Female , Graft Rejection/immunology , Graft Rejection/prevention & control , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunosuppressive Agents/administration & dosage , Immunosuppressive Agents/adverse effects , Male , Middle Aged , Mycophenolic Acid/administration & dosage , Mycophenolic Acid/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
6.
Br J Haematol ; 2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488182

ABSTRACT

The immunogenicity and safety of Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients are unknown. We prospectively followed 152 HSCT recipients who were at least six months following transplantation and with no active acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Blood samples were taken 2-4 weeks after the second vaccination and analyzed for receptor-binding domain (RBD) antibodies and neutralizing antibodies (NA). 272 immunocompetent healthcare workers served as controls. At a median of 28 days after the second vaccination, 118 patients (77·6%) developed RBD immunoglobulin G (IgG) with a geometric mean titre (GMT) of 2·61 [95% CI (confidence interval), 2·16-3·16]. In the control group 269/272 (98·9%) developed RBD IgG, with a GMT of 5·98 (95% CI 5·70-6·28), P < 0·0001. The GMT of NA in HSCT recipients and controls was 116·0 (95% CI 76·5-175·9), and 427·9 (95% CI 354·3-516·7) respectively (P < 0001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that HSCT recipients with no chronic GVHD and no immunosuppressive therapy at the time of vaccination had significantly higher levels of NA following the second vaccination. Adverse events were minimal and were less common than in healthy controls. In conclusion; the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination is safe and effective in HSCT recipients, especially those who are immunosuppression-free. A significant fraction developed protecting NA.

7.
EClinicalMedicine ; 41: 101158, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1466282

ABSTRACT

Background: Trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine showed 95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic disease; however, the trials excluded immunocompromised patients (ICPs). We aim at analyzing antibody response in ICPs. Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted at Sheba Medical Center, Israel, between January and April 2020, in 1274 participants who received the vaccine, including 1002 ICPs and 272 immunocompetent healthcare workers (HCWs). Antibodies were measured two-four weeks after vaccination by SARS-CoV-2 anti-receptor binding domain IgG antibodies (RBD IgG) and pseudo-virus neutralization assays. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with vaccine-induced antibody response. Adverse events (AEs) were monitored. Findings: RBD-IgG antibodies were detected in 154/156 (98.7%) of patients with HIV, 75/90 (83.3%) with solid malignancies, 149/187 (79.7%) with myeloma, 83/111 (74.8%) following hematopoietic stem cell transplants, 25/36 (69.4%) following liver transplantation, 26/43 (60.5%) with myelodysplastic syndrome, 96/188 (51.0%) with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 50/110 (45.5%) following kidney transplantation, 15/80 (18.8%) following heart transplantation, and 269/272 (98.9%) in controls. There was a significant correlation r = 0.74 (95%CI 0.69,0.78) between RBD-binding IgG and neutralizing antibodies in all groups. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that age > 65 years (OR 0.41,95%CI 0.30,0.57) and underlying immunosuppression (OR 0.02,95%CI 0.01,0.07) were significantly associated with a non-reactive response of IgG antibodies. HIV patients showed a similar immunological response as healthy adults. The vaccine was safe without any episodes of rejection, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) or allergy. Immunocompetent HCWs experienced significantly more AEs than ICPs. Interpretation: Antibody response to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was highly variable among different ICPs; thus, individual recommendations should be provided for the different immunosuppression states.

8.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-6, 2021 Sep 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434013

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess reasons for noncompliance with COVID-19 vaccination among healthcare workers (HCWs). DESIGN: Cohort observational and surveillance study. SETTING: Sheba Medical Center, a 1,600-bed tertiary-care medical center in Israel. PARTICIPANTS: The study included 10,888 HCWs including all employees, students, and volunteers. INTERVENTION: The BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was offered to all HCWs of the hospital. Noncompliance was assessed, and pre-rollout and post-rollout surveys were conducted. Data regarding uptake of the vaccine as well as demographic data and compliance with prior influenza vaccination were collected, and 2 surveys were distributed. The survey before the rollout pertained to the intention to receive the vaccine, and the survey after the rollout pertained to all unvaccinated HCWs regarding causes of hesitancy. RESULTS: In the pre-rollout survey, 1,673 (47%) of 3,563 HCWs declared their intent to receive the vaccine. Overall, 8,108 (79%) HCWs received the COVID-19 vaccine within 40 days of rollout. In a multivariate logistic regression model, the factors that were significant predictors of vaccine uptake were male sex, age 40-59 years, occupation (paramedical professionals and doctors), high socioeconomic level, and compliance with flu vaccine. Among 425 unvaccinated HCWs who answered the second survey, the most common cause for hesitancy was the risk during pregnancy (31%). CONCLUSIONS: Although vaccine uptake among HCWs was higher than expected, relatively low uptake was observed among young women and those from lower socioeconomic levels and educational backgrounds. Concerns regarding vaccine safety during pregnancy were common and more data about vaccine safety, especially during pregnancy, might improve compliance.

9.
Eur J Cancer ; 157: 124-131, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401447

ABSTRACT

AIM: Patients with cancer are at an increased risk for severe coronavirus disease of 2019, thus data on the safety and efficacy of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines are essential. We conducted this prospective study of patients with cancer vaccinated with BNT162b2 and monitored for antibody response and safety. The aim was to evaluate the rate of seropositivity and define predictors for non-reactive immune response. Furthermore, we evaluated the frequency and the severity of adverse events. METHODS: The study included patients with solid tumours undergoing anticancer treatment and immunocompetent health-care workers serving as controls. Serum titres of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) immunoglobulin G (IgG) and neutralising antibodies were measured 2-4 weeks after each vaccine dose. RESULTS: The analysis included 129 patients, of which 70.5% patients were metastatic. Patients were treated with chemotherapy (55%), immunotherapy (34.1%), biological agents (24.8%), hormonal treatment (8.5%) and radiotherapy (4.6%), that were given either alone or in combinations. The seropositivity rate among patients with cancer and controls was 32.4% versus 59.8% (p < 0.0001) after the first dose and 84.1% versus 98.9% (p < 0.0001) after the second dose, respectively. Median RBD-IgG titre was lower among patients than controls (p < 0.0001). Patients who were seronegative after the second dose had significantly more comorbidities than that with patients with seropositivity (77.8% vs 41.1%, respectively, p = 0.0042). CONCLUSION: Adequate antibody response after BNT162b2 vaccination was achieved after two doses but not after one dose, in patients with cancer vaccinated during anticancer therapy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Neoplasms/immunology , Neoplasms/virology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/diet therapy , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/methods
10.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 17489, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1392889

ABSTRACT

Rapid and sensitive screening tools for SARS-CoV-2 infection are essential to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to properly allocate national resources. Here, we developed a new point-of-care, non-contact thermal imaging tool to detect COVID-19, based on advanced image processing algorithms. We captured thermal images of the backs of individuals with and without COVID-19 using a portable thermal camera that connects directly to smartphones. Our novel image processing algorithms automatically extracted multiple texture and shape features of the thermal images and achieved an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.85 in COVID-19 detection with up to 92% sensitivity. Thermal imaging scores were inversely correlated with clinical variables associated with COVID-19 disease progression. In summary, we show, for the first time, that a hand-held thermal imaging device can be used to detect COVID-19. Non-invasive thermal imaging could be used to screen for COVID-19 in out-of-hospital settings, especially in low-income regions with limited imaging resources.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Image Processing, Computer-Assisted/instrumentation , Adult , Aged , Algorithms , Area Under Curve , Disease Progression , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Point-of-Care Systems , Sensitivity and Specificity , Smartphone
11.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(8): e2122255, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1378909

ABSTRACT

Importance: Allergic reactions among some individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) COVID-19 vaccine discourage patients with allergic conditions from receiving this vaccine and physicians from recommending the vaccine. Objective: To describe the assessment and immunization of highly allergic individuals with the BNT162b2 vaccine. Design, Setting, and Participants: In a prospective cohort study from December 27, 2020, to February 22, 2021, 8102 patients with allergies who applied to the COVID 19 vaccine referral center at the Sheba Medical Center underwent risk assessment using an algorithm that included a detailed questionnaire. High-risk patients (n = 429) were considered "highly allergic" and were immunized under medical supervision. Exposures: Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) COVID-19 vaccine. Main Outcomes and Measures: Allergic and anaphylactic reactions after the first and second doses of BNT162b2 vaccine among highly allergic patients. Results: Of the 429 individuals who applied to the COVID-19 referral center and were defined as highly allergic, 304 (70.9%) were women and the mean (SD) age was 52 (16) years. This highly allergic group was referred to receive immunization under medical supervision. After the first dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine, 420 patients (97.9%) had no immediate allergic event, 6 (1.4%) developed minor allergic responses, and 3 (0.7%) had anaphylactic reactions. During the study period, 218 highly allergic patients (50.8%) received the second BNT162b2 vaccine dose, of which 214 (98.2%) had no allergic reactions and 4 patients (1.8%) had minor allergic reactions. Other immediate and late reactions were comparable with those seen in the general population, except for delayed itch and skin eruption, which were more common among allergic patients. Conclusions and Relevance: The rate of allergic reactions to BNT162b2 vaccine, is higher among patients with allergies, particularly among a subgroup with a history of high-risk allergies. This study suggests that most patients with a history of allergic diseases and, particularly, highly allergic patients can be safely immunized by using an algorithm that can be implemented in different medical facilities and includes a referral center, a risk assessment questionnaire, and a setting for immunization under medical supervision of highly allergic patients. Further studies are required to define more specific risk factors for allergic reactions to the BNT162b2 vaccine.


Subject(s)
Anaphylaxis/etiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , Vaccination/adverse effects , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anaphylaxis/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Hypersensitivity/epidemiology , Hypersensitivity/etiology , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , Prospective Studies , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
12.
J Heart Lung Transplant ; 2021 Aug 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373008

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The repeated waves of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the necessity to optimize vaccine responses in immunocompromised populations. We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of a third, booster, dose of the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine in heart transplant (HT) patients. METHODS: The cohort comprised 96 adult HT patients who received a third homologous dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine 168 days after the second dose. The vaccine-induced antibody responses of both receptor-binding domain (RBD) IgG and neutralizing antibodies were assessed in all patients, with a positive antibody response being defined as the presence of either IgG anti-RBD or neutralizing antibodies. For a subset of patients, T cell response was also studied. RESULTS: The third dose was associated with a low rate of adverse events, mostly mild pain at the injection site. No serious adverse events were recorded, and there were no episodes of rejection. At 18 days following the third dose of the vaccine, the positive antibody response increased from 23% to 67%, with a corresponding increase in neutralizing capacity. The third dose elicited SARS-CoV-2 neutralization titers >9-fold and IgG anti-RBD antibodies >3-fold of the range achieved after the two primary doses. Mycophenolate use, lower eGFR and higher C-reactive protein were independently associated with a reduced likelihood of generating an immune response. Importantly, a specific T-cell response following the third dose was evident in the majority of transplant recipients. CONCLUSIONS: An homologous third booster dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine gave overall consistent tolerability and a good safety profile, while eliciting humoral and cellular immune responses.

13.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 27(12): 1851-1855, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370463

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The immunogenicity and safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in people living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (PLWH) are unknown. We aimed to assess the immunogenicity and safety of this vaccine in PLWH. METHODS: In this prospective open study, we enrolled 143 PLWH, aged ≥18 years, who attended our clinic and 261 immunocompetent health-care workers (HCWs). Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) receptor binding domain (RBD) IgG and neutralizing antibodies were measured. Adverse events, viral load and CD4 cell counts were monitored. RESULTS: At a median of 18 days (interquartile range 14-21 days) after the second dose, anti-RBD-IgG was positive in 139/141 (98%) PLWH. Among HCWs, 258/261 (98.9%) developed anti-RBD-IgG at a median of 26 days (interquartile range 24-27 days) after the second dose. Following the second dose, immune sera neutralized SARS-CoV-2 pseudo-virus in 97% and 98% of PLWH and HCWs, respectively. Adverse events were reported in 60% of PLWH, mainly pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache. AIDS-related adverse events were not reported. Human immunodeficiency virus load increased in 3/143 (2%) patients from <40 copies/mL to ≤100 copies/mL. CD4+ T-cell count decreased from a geometric mean of 700 cells/µL (95% CI 648-757 cells/µL) to 633.8 cells/µL (95% CI 588-683 cells/µL) (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine appears immunogenic and safe in PLWH who are on antiretroviral therapy with unsuppressed CD4 count and suppressed viral load.

15.
Haematologica ; 2021 Jul 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1332108

ABSTRACT

Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have a suboptimal humoral response to vaccination. Recently, a BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was introduced with a high efficacy of 95% in immunocompetent individuals. We investigated the safety and efficacy of BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in patients with CLL from nine medical centers in Israel, In total 400 patients were included, of which 373 were found to be eligible for the analysis of antibody response. The vaccine appeared to be safe and only grade 1-2 adverse events were seen in 50% of the patients. Following the second dose, antibody response was detected in 43% of the cohort. In treatment- naïve patients 61% responded to the vaccine, while only 18%, 37% and 5% of patients with CLL ongoing, previously treated with BTKi, or recent anti CD20 antibody developed responses respectively. 62% and 14% of patients treated with BCL2 monotherapy or combined with anti CD20 developed immune response respectively. Neutralizing antibodies demonstrated high concordance with positive serologic response to spike (S) protein. Based on our results a simple scoring model including recent treatment with anti-CD20, age younger than 70 years, treatment naïve status, and normal IGG, IGA, IGM and hemoglobin levels. The sum of all the above parameters can serve as a possible estimate to predict whether a given CLL patient will develop sufficient antibodies. In conclusion, the vaccine was found to be safe in patients with CLL, but its efficacy is limited particularly in treated patients.

16.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 7: 100150, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300933

ABSTRACT

Background: BNT162b2 was shown to be 92% effective in preventing COVID-19. Prioritizing vaccine rollout, and achievement of herd immunity depend on SARS-CoV-2 transmission reduction. The vaccine's effect on infectivity is thus a critical priority. Methods: Among all 9650 HCW of a large tertiary medical center in Israel, we calculated the prevalence of positive SARS-CoV-2 qRT-PCR cases with asymptomatic presentation, tested following known or presumed exposure and the infectious subset (N-gene-Ct-value<30) of these. Additionally, infection incidence rates were calculated for symptomatic cases and infectious (Ct<30) cases. Vaccine effectiveness within three months of vaccine rollout was measured as one minus the relative risk or rate ratio, respectively. To further assess infectiousness, we compared the mean Ct-value and the proportion of infections with a positive SARS-CoV-2 antigen test of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. The correlation between IgG levels within the week before detection and Ct level was assessed. Findings: Reduced prevalence among fully vaccinated HCW was observed for (i) infections detected due to exposure, with asymptomatic presentation (VE(i)=65.1%, 95%CI 45-79%), (ii) the presumed infectious (Ct<30) subset of these (VE(ii)=69.6%, 95%CI 43-84%) (iii) never-symptomatic infections (VE(iii)=72.3%, 95%CI 48-86%), and (iv) the presumed infectious (Ct<30) subset (VE(iv)=83.0%, 95%CI 51-94%).Incidence of (v) symptomatic and (vi) symptomatic-infectious cases was significantly lower among fully vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals (VE(v)= 89.7%, 95%CI 84-94%, VE(vi)=88.1%, 95%CI 80-95%).The mean Ct-value was significantly higher in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated (27.3±1.2 vs. 22.2±1.0, p<0.001) and the proportion of positive SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests was also significantly lower among vaccinated vs. unvaccinated PCR-positive HCW (80% vs. 31%, p<0.001). Lower infectivity was correlated with higher IgG concentrations (R=0.36, p=0.01). Interpretation: These results suggest that BNT162b2 is moderately to highly effective in reducing infectivity, via preventing infection and through reducing viral shedding. Funding: Sheba Medical Center, Israel.

17.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 27(11): 1652-1657, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300724

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The mRNA coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines have shown high effectiveness in the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19, hospitalization, severe disease and death. Nevertheless, a minority of vaccinated individuals might become infected and experience significant morbidity. Characteristics of vaccine breakthrough infections have not been studied. We sought to portray the population of Israeli patients, who were hospitalized with COVID-19 despite full vaccination. METHODS: A retrospective multicentre cohort study of 17 hospitals included patients fully vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech's BNT162b2 vaccine who developed COVID-19 more than 7 days after the second vaccine dose and required hospitalization. The risk for poor outcome, defined as a composite of mechanical ventilation or death, was assessed. RESULTS: A total of 152 patients were included, accounting for half of hospitalized fully vaccinated patients in Israel. Poor outcome was noted in 38 patients and mortality rate reached 22% (34/152). Notably, the cohort was characterized by a high rate of co-morbidities predisposing to severe COVID-19, including hypertension (108; 71%), diabetes (73; 48%), congestive heart failure (41; 27%), chronic kidney and lung diseases (37; 24% each), dementia (29; 19%) and cancer (36; 24%), and only six (4%) had no co-morbidities. Sixty (40%) of the patients were immunocompromised. Higher viral load was associated with a significant risk for poor outcome. Risk also appeared higher in patients receiving anti-CD20 treatment and in patients with low titres of anti-Spike IgG, but these differences did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: We found that severe COVID-19 infection, associated with a high mortality rate, might develop in a minority of fully vaccinated individuals with multiple co-morbidities. Our patients had a higher rate of co-morbidities and immunosuppression compared with previously reported non-vaccinated hospitalized individuals with COVID-19. Further characterization of this vulnerable population may help to develop guidance to augment their protection, either by continued social distancing, or by additional active or passive vaccinations.

18.
J Heart Lung Transplant ; 40(8): 759-762, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198765

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Data on the safety and efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in immunocompromised populations are sparse. METHODS: We conducted a prospective study of 77 heart transplant (HT) recipients vaccinated with two doses of BNT162b2 vaccine and monitored for adverse events following both doses, the receptor-binding domain (RBD) IgG response, and neutralizing antibodies. RESULTS: BNT162b2 vaccination was associated with a low rate of adverse events, characterized mostly by pain at the injection site. By a mean 41 days post second dose there were no clinical episodes of rejection, as suggested by a troponin leak or allograft dysfunction. At a mean 21 days following the second dose, IgG anti-RBD antibodies were detectable in 14 (18%) HT recipients. Immune sera neutralized SARS-CoV-2 pseudo-virus in 8 (57%) of those with IgG anti-RBD antibodies. Immunosuppressive regimen containing mycophenolic acid was associated with lower odds of an antibody response (OR = 0.12, p = 0.042). CONCLUSIONS: Whether a longer time-frame for observation of an antibody response is required after vaccination in immunosuppressed individuals remains unknown.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Heart Transplantation , Postoperative Complications/prevention & control , Postoperative Complications/virology , Aged , Antibody Formation , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies
19.
Emerg Med J ; 38(5): 373-378, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1153688

ABSTRACT

Anticipating the need for a COVID-19 treatment centre in Israel, a designated facility was established at Sheba Medical Center-a quaternary referral centre. The goals were diagnosis and treatment of patients with COVID-19 while protecting patients and staff from infection and ensuring operational continuity and treatment of patients with non-COVID. Options considered included adaptation of existing wards, building a tented facility and converting a non-medical structure. The option chosen was a non-medical structure converted to a hospitalisation facility suited for COVID-19 with appropriate logistic and organisational adaptations. Operational principles included patient isolation, unidirectional workflow from clean to contaminated zones and minimising direct contact between patients and caregivers using personal protection equipment (PPE) and a multimodal telemedicine system. The ED was modified to enable triage and treatment of patients with COVID-19 while maintaining a COVID-19-free environment in the main campus. This system enabled treatment of patients with COVID-19 while maintaining staff safety and conserving the operational continuity and the ability to continue delivery of treatment to patients with non-COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Hospitals, Special/organization & administration , Infection Control/organization & administration , Emergency Service, Hospital/standards , Humans , Infection Control/standards , Israel/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Personal Protective Equipment/supply & distribution , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine , Triage/organization & administration , Workflow
20.
Nutrients ; 13(3)2021 Mar 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125923

ABSTRACT

We aimed to investigate the prevalence of decreased folate levels in patients hospitalized with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and evaluate their outcome and the prognostic signifi-cance associated with its different levels. In this retrospective cohort study, data were obtained from the electronic medical records at the Sheba Medical Center. Folic acid levels were available in 333 out of 1020 consecutive patients diagnosed with COVID-19 infection hospitalized from January 2020 to November 2020. Thirty-eight (11.4%) of the 333 patients comprising the present study population had low folate levels. No significant difference was found in the incidence of acute kidney injury, hypoxemia, invasive ventilation, length of hospital stay, and mortality be-tween patients with decreased and normal-range folate levels. When sub-dividing the study population according to quartiles of folate levels, similar findings were observed. In conclusion, decreased serum folate levels are common among hospitalized patients with COVID-19, but there was no association between serum folate levels and clinical outcomes. Due to the important role of folate in cell metabolism and the potential pathologic impact when deficient, a follow-up of folate levels or possible supplementation should be encouraged in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Fur-ther studies are required to assess the prevalence and consequences of folate deficiency in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , Folic Acid/blood , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Folic Acid Deficiency/blood , Folic Acid Deficiency/complications , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Prognosis , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors
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