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1.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 20(11): 2558-2566.e5, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1936142

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Liver transplant recipients (LTRs) show a decreased immune response after 2 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccinations compared with healthy controls (HCs). Here, we investigated the immunogenicity of additional vaccinations. METHODS: In this prospective study, humoral (anti-SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain [anti-S RBD]) and cellular (interferon-gamma release assay) immune responses were determined after mRNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in 106 LTRs after a third vaccination and in 36 LTRs after a fourth vaccination. Patients with anti-S RBD antibody levels >0.8 arbitrary unit (AU)/mL after vaccination were defined as responders. RESULTS: After 3 vaccinations, 92% (97/106) of LTRs compared with 100% (28/28) of HCs were responders. However, the antibody titer of LTRs was lower compared with HCs (1891.0 vs 21,857.0 AU/mL; P < .001). Between a second and third vaccination (n = 75), the median antibody level increased 67-fold in LTRs. In patients seronegative after 2 vaccinations, a third dose induced seroconversion in 76% (19/25), whereas all HCs were already seropositive after 2 vaccinations. A spike-specific T-cell response was detected in 72% (28/39) after a third vaccination compared with 32% (11/34) after a second vaccination. Independent risk factors for a low antibody response (anti-S RBD <100 AU/mL) were first vaccination within the first year after liver transplant (odds ratio [OR], 8.00; P = .023), estimated glomular filtration rate <45 mL/min (OR, 4.72; P = .006), and low lymphocyte counts (OR, 5.02; P = .008). A fourth vaccination induced a 9-fold increase in the median antibody level and seroconversion in 60% (3/5) of previous non-responders. CONCLUSIONS: A third and fourth SARS-CoV-2 vaccination effectively increases the humoral and cellular immune response of LTRs, but to a lesser extent than in HCs. A fourth vaccination should be generally considered in LTRs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Liver Transplantation , Mice , Animals , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , Prospective Studies , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Cellular , Vaccination , RNA, Messenger , Transplant Recipients , Antibodies, Viral
2.
Liver Int ; 2022 Jul 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1937976

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: To explore the humoral and T-cell response to the third COVID-19 vaccination in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). METHODS: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers were prospectively determined in 81 AIH patients and 53 healthy age- and sex-matched controls >7 days (median 35) after the first COVID-19 booster vaccination. The spike-specific T-cell response was assessed using an activation-induced marker assay (AIM) in a subset of patients. RESULTS: Median antibody levels were significantly lower in AIH compared to controls (10 908 vs. 25 000 AU/ml, p < .001), especially in AIH patients treated with MMF (N = 14, 4542 AU/ml, p = .004) or steroids (N = 27, 7326 AU/ml, p = .020). Also, 48% of AIH patients had antibody titers below the 10% percentile of the healthy controls (9194 AU/ml, p < .001). AIH patients had a high risk of failing to develop a spike-specific T-cell response (15/34 (44%) vs. 2/16 (12%), p = .05) and showed overall lower frequencies of spike-specific CD4 + T cells (median: 0.074% vs 0.283; p = .01) after the booster vaccination compared to healthy individuals. In 34/81 patients, antibody titers before and after booster vaccination were available. In this subgroup, all patients but especially those without detectable/low antibodies titers (<100 AU/ml) after the second vaccination (N = 11/34) showed a strong, 148-fold increase. CONCLUSION: A third COVID-19 vaccination efficiently boosts antibody levels and T-cell responses in AIH patients and even seroconversion in patients with the absent immune response after two vaccinations, but to a lower level compared to controls. Therefore, we suggest routinely assessing antibody levels in AIH patients and offering additional booster vaccinations to those with suboptimal responses.

5.
United European Gastroenterol J ; 10(3): 319-329, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739241

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/AIMS: In this observational study, we explored the humoral and cellular immune response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and patients with cholestatic autoimmune liver disease (primary sclerosing cholangitis [PSC] and primary biliary cholangitis [PBC]). METHODS: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers were determined using the DiaSorin LIAISON and Roche immunoassays in 103 AIH, 64 PSC, and 61 PBC patients and 95 healthy controls >14 days after the second COVID-19 vaccination. The spike-specific T-cell response was assessed using an activation-induced marker assay (AIM) in a subset of individuals. RESULTS: Previous SARS-CoV-2 infection was frequently detected in AIH but not in PBC/PSC (10/112 (9%), versus 4/144 (2.7%), p = 0.03). In the remaining patients, seroconversion was measurable in 97% of AIH and 99% of PBC/PSC patients, respectively. However, in 13/94 AIH patients antibody levels were lower than in any healthy control, which contributed to lower antibody levels of the total AIH cohort when compared to PBC/PSC or controls (641 vs. 1020 vs. 1200 BAU/ml, respectively). Notably, antibody levels were comparably low in AIH patients with (n = 85) and without immunosuppression (n = 9). Also, antibody titers significantly declined within 7 months after the second vaccination. In the AIM assay of 20 AIH patients, a spike-specific T-cell response was undetectable in 45% despite a positive serology, while 87% (13/15) of the PBC/PSC demonstrated a spike-specific T-cell response. CONCLUSION: Patients with AIH show an increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rate as well as an impaired B- and T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccine compared to PBC and PSC patients, even in the absence of immunosuppression. Thus, antibody responses to vaccination in AIH patients need to be monitored and early booster immunizations considered in low responders.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cholangitis, Sclerosing , Cholestasis , Hepatitis, Autoimmune , Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cholangitis, Sclerosing/complications , Hepatitis, Autoimmune/complications , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
6.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 20(1): 162-172.e9, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401300

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Detailed information on the immune response after second vaccination of cirrhotic patients and liver transplant (LT) recipients against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is largely missing. We aimed at comparing the vaccine-induced humoral and T-cell responses of these vulnerable patient groups. METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike-protein titers were determined using the DiaSorin LIAISON (anti-S trimer) and Roche Elecsys (anti-S RBD) immunoassays in 194 patients (141 LT, 53 cirrhosis Child-Pugh A-C) and 56 healthy controls before and 10 to 84 days after second vaccination. The spike-specific T-cell response was assessed using an interferon-gamma release assay (EUROIMMUN). A logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of low response. RESULTS: After the second vaccination, seroconversion was achieved in 63% of LT recipients and 100% of cirrhotic patients and controls using the anti-S trimer assay. Median anti-SARS-CoV-2 titers of responding LT recipients were lower compared with cirrhotic patients and controls (P < .001). Spike-specific T-cell response rates were 36.6%, 65.4%, and 100% in LT, cirrhosis, and controls, respectively. Altogether, 28% of LT recipients did neither develop a humoral nor a T-cell response after second vaccination. In LT recipients, significant predictors of absent or low humoral response were age >65 years (odds ratio [OR], 4.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.48-14.05) and arterial hypertension (OR, 2.50; 95% CI, 1.10-5.68), whereas vaccination failure was less likely with calcineurin inhibitor monotherapy than with other immunosuppressive regimens (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.13-0.99). CONCLUSION: Routine serological testing of the vaccination response and a third vaccination in patients with low or absent response seem advisable. These vulnerable cohorts need further research on the effects of heterologous vaccination and intermittent reduction of immunosuppression before booster vaccinations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , Aged , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunity , Liver Cirrhosis , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
7.
Pediatr Transplant ; 25(8): e14121, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1371838

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Young adults who underwent liver transplantation in childhood (YALTs) are highly vulnerable to non-adherent behavior and psychosocial problems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, special efforts may be necessary to maintain contact with these patients and offer support. This can be achieved through the use of telemedicine. The study's objective was to assess adherence and the psychosocial situation of YALTs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany and to evaluate the utilization of video consultations. METHODS: In May 2020, a questionnaire was sent to YALTs treated at the Hamburg University Transplant Center, accompanied by the offer of video appointments with the attending physician. The questionnaire included the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale 7, the Patient Health Questionnaire 2, and questions compiled by the authors. RESULTS: Of 98 YALTs, 12% used the video consultation, while 65% had an in-person appointment. The 56 patients who completed the questionnaire did not report reduced medication adherence during the pandemic, but 40% missed follow-up visits with their primary care physician or check-up laboratory tests. About 70% of YALTs were afraid to visit their physician and the transplant center, and 34% were afraid of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Mental health and well-being were unimpaired. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, YALTs in our study did not show an increased need for psychosocial support, but a majority were afraid to attend medical appointments, and 40% reported lower appointment adherence. Acceptance of video consultations was lower than expected. The reasons for this need to be further investigated in order to optimize care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Liver Transplantation/psychology , Patient Compliance , Telemedicine , Adolescent , Adult , Germany , Humans , Male , Medication Adherence , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
8.
J Clin Med ; 10(11)2021 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1244046

ABSTRACT

In this study, we directly compared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients hospitalized during the first (27 February-28 July 2020) and second (29 July-31 December 2020) wave of the pandemic at a large tertiary center in northern Germany. Patients who presented during the first (n = 174) and second (n = 331) wave did not differ in age (median [IQR], 59 years [46, 71] vs. 58 years [42, 73]; p = 0.82) or age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index (median [IQR], 2 [1, 4] vs. 2 [0, 4]; p = 0.50). During the second wave, a higher proportion of patients were treated as outpatients (11% [n = 20] vs. 20% [n = 67]), fewer patients were admitted to the intensive care unit (43% [n = 75] vs. 29% [n = 96]), and duration of hospitalization was significantly shorter (median days [IQR], 14 [8, 34] vs. 11 [5, 19]; p < 0.001). However, in-hospital mortality was high throughout the pandemic and did not differ between the two periods (16% [n = 27] vs. 16% [n = 54]; p = 0.89). While novel treatment strategies and increased knowledge about the clinical management of COVID-19 may have resulted in a less severe disease course in some patients, in-hospital mortality remained unaltered at a high level. These findings highlight the unabated need for efforts to hamper severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission, to increase vaccination coverage, and to develop novel treatment strategies to prevent mortality and decrease morbidity.

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