Autoimmune disease medications can make the vaccine less responsive. Antibody treatments ineffective against Brazil variant

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The word “COVID-19” is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this image

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Treatments with autoimmune diseases can reduce vaccination responses

Immunosuppressants for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and ulcerative colitis can interfere with the body’s response to Pfizer / BioNTech’s and COVID-19 vaccines Modern (NASDAQ :), according to new data. In 133 fully vaccinated people with such diseases, the antibody levels and virus neutralization were about three times lower than in a comparison group of vaccinated people who did not take these drugs, researchers reported on medRxiv on Friday before the peer review. Most of the patients in the study “were able to induce antibody responses in response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, which is comforting,” said co-author Alfred Kim of Washington University Medical School in St. Louis. It is not yet clear whether decreased antibody levels lead to decreased protection from infection or hospitalization, Kim said. Of particular concern is the 10-fold decrease in vaccine-induced antibody levels in patients who routinely use steroids such as prednisone and methylprednisolone, and a 36-fold decrease in drugs that break down B cells, including Roche’s Rituxan (rituximab). and ocrevus (ocrelizumab). The reduction in antibody levels was more modest with popular rheumatoid arthritis drugs in the class known as TNF inhibitors, such as Abbvie’s Humira (adalimumab) and Amgen (NASDAQ 🙂 Enbrel (Etanercept); Antimetabolites such as methotrexate and sulfasalazine; JAK inhibitors like Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 Xeljanz (tofacitinib), gut-specific drugs like Entyvio (vedolizumab) from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, and IL-12/23 inhibitors, including Stelara (ustekinumab) from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE :). (https: //

Most antibodies are ineffective against the Brazilian variant

The coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil, known as P.1, is resistant to three of the four antibody therapies with emergency approval in the United States, according to a laboratory study. In test tube experiments, the researchers exposed the P.1 variant to various monoclonal antibodies, including the four imdevimab and casirivimab from Regneron Pharmaceuticals, as well as bamlanivimab and eesevimab from Eli Lilly (NYSE 🙂 and Co Only imdevimab retained its effectiveness, researchers found. According to a peer review report available on bioRxiv and provisionally accepted by Cell Host & Microbe magazine, the neutralization ability of the other three has been “significantly or completely eliminated”. Researchers also exposed P.1 to plasma from COVID-19 survivors and blood from recipients of vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna. Compared to their effects against the original version of the coronavirus, the plasma and vaccine-induced antibodies were less effective in neutralizing P.1. In earlier studies, however, they were even less effective than variant B.1.351, which was first identified in South Africa. This suggests that the Brazilian variant may not pose as great a risk of re-infection or decreased vaccination protection as the South African variant, said Columbia University co-author David Ho. Real-world evidence is needed to confirm the laboratory results, he said. (https: //

The South African Variant May “Break Through” Pfizer Vaccine

Coronavirus variant B.1.351 discovered in South Africa can to some extent “break through” Pfizer / BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine protection, Israeli researchers have found. They compared nearly 400 people who tested positive for COVID-19 after a dose or two of the vaccine with the same number of similar people with COVID-19 who weren’t vaccinated. The prevalence of the variant in Israel is low, accounting for around 1% of all COVID-19 cases in the study. Among those who received both doses of the vaccine, a greater proportion of COVID-19 infections were caused by B.1.351. The “disproportionately higher rate” of the South African variant in the fully vaccinated group (5.4%) compared to the rate in the unvaccinated group (0.7%) “means that the South African variant is to some extent capable of to break the vaccination protection, “said Adi Stern of Tel Aviv University. In a report posted on medRxiv on Friday prior to peer review, Stern’s team said the research was not intended to infer the overall effectiveness of the vaccine against a variant, as it only looked at people who were already positive for COVID- 19 had tested not on total infection rates in the community. (https: //

Open in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

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