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Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22272575


While the combination of casirivimab-imdevimab (Ronapreve Roche Regeneron) has been shown to confer satisfactory protection against the delta variant kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) with COVID-19, it has limited neutralizing activity against the current variants of concern (Omicron BA.1, BA.1.1 and BA.2). In contrast, cilgavimab-tixagevimab combination (Evusheld, Astra Zeneca) retains a partial neutralizing activity against omicron in vitro. We examined whether preexposure prophylaxis with Evusheld can effectively protect kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) against the Omicron variant. Of the 416 KTRs who received intramuscular prophylactic injections of Evusheld (150 mg tixagevimab and 150 mg cilgavimab), 39 (9.4%) developed COVID-19. With the exception of one patient, all KTRs were symptomatic. Hospitalization and admission to an intensive care unit were required for 14 (35.9%) and three patients, respectively. Two KTRs died of COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome. SARS-CoV-2 sequencing was carried out in 15 cases (BA.1, n = 5; BA.1.1, n = 9; BA.2, n=1). Viral neutralizing activity of the serum against BA.1 variant was negative in the 12 tested patients, suggesting that this prophylaxis strategy provides insufficient protection against this variant of concern. Preexposure prophylaxis with Evusheld does not adequately protect KTRs against Omicron. Further clarification of the optimal dosing can assist in our understanding of how best to harness its protective potential.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21267794


SARS-CoV-2 pandemic evolved in two consecutive waves over 2020 (for France: 1st wave from March 1 to July 31; and 2nd wave from August 1 to December 31). Improvements in the management of COVID-19 led to a reduction of mortality rates in hospitalized patients during the second wave. Whether this progress also benefited to kidney transplant recipients (KTR), a population particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19, remained unclear. In France, 957 KTR were hospitalized for COVID-19 in 2020 and their data were prospectively collected in the French SOT COVID registry. The presentation, management, and outcomes of the 359 KTR diagnosed during the 1st wave were compared to those of the 598 of the 2nd wave. Baseline comorbidities were largely similar between KTR of the 2 waves. Maintenance immunosuppression was reduced in most patients but withdrawal of antimetabolite (73.7% vs 58.4%, p<0.001) or CNI (32.1% vs 16.6%, p<0.001) was less frequent during the 2nd wave. Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin that were commonly used during the 1st wave (21.7% and 30.9%, respectively) were almost abandoned during the 2nd. In contrast, the use of high dose corticosteroids doubled (19.5% vs. 41.6%, p<0.001). Despite these changing trends in COVID-19 management, 60-day mortality was not statistically different between the 2 waves (25.3% vs. 23.9%; Log Rank, p=0.48). We conclude that changing of therapeutic trends during 2020 did not reduce COVID-19 related mortality in KTR. Our data indirectly support the importance of vaccination and monoclonal neutralizing anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to protect KTR from severe COVID-19.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21262691


The US FDA has recently authorized immunocompromised people to receive a third dose of mRNA Covid-19 vaccine following the two-doses regimen to further boost protection. Unfortunately, a non-negligible proportion of people treated with immunosuppressive drugs either do not respond or show only a weak response after a third boost and should, therefore, still be considered at risk of severe Covid-19. As of June 2021, we were granted the opportunity to offer a fourth vaccine dose to French solid organ transplant recipients who still showed a weak antibody response after the third dose. In this multicenter study, we demonstrate that that the protection conferred by a fourth dose is adequate for the majority of kidney transplant recipients.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21262293


Only a minority of kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) develop protective neutralizing titers of anti-receptor binding domain of spike protein (RBD) IgG after two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Administration of a third dose of mRNA vaccine to KTRs with sub-optimal response increase anti-RBD IgG titers but with high inter-individual variability. Patients with the higher response rate to the third dose of vaccine can be identified by the presence of low anti-RBD IgG titers and spike-specific CD4+ T cells in their circulation 14 days after the second dose.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21260852


Transplant recipients, which receive therapeutic immunosuppression to prevent graft rejection, are characterized by high COVID-19-related mortality and defective response to vaccines. Having observed that previous infection by SARS-CoV-2 but not the standard "2 doses" scheme of vaccination, provided complete protection against COVID-19 to transplant recipients, we undertook this translational study to compare the cellular and humoral immune responses of these 2 groups of patients. Neutralizing anti-Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) IgG were identified as the critical immune effectors associated with protection. Generation of anti-RBD IgG was dependent upon spike-specific T follicular helper (Tfh) CD4+ T cells, which acted as limiting checkpoint. Tfh generation was impeded by high dose mycophenolate mofetil in non-responders to vaccine but not in infected patients, suggesting that increasing immunogenicity of vaccine could improve response rate to mRNA vaccine. This theory was validated in two independent prospective cohorts, in which administration of a 3rd dose of vaccine resulted in the generation of anti-RBD IgG in half of non-responders to 2 doses. One sentence summaryThe generation of neutralizing IgG, which protects kidney transplant recipients from COVID-19, requires T follicular helper cells.

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