Could anti-CD20 therapy jeopardise the efficacy of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine?

Eur J Cancer. 2020 Sep;136:4-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2020.06.017. Epub 2020 Jun 25.


A vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 might represent the most promising approach to halt durably the current COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that anti-CD20 therapy may jeopardise the efficacy of such a vaccine. This is regrettable because patients receiving anti-CD20 therapy (i.e. those with haematologic malignancies or autoimmune disorders) are particularly at risk of severe COVID-19 and, as such, are the most in need of a vaccine. Here, we review the reasons why anti-CD20 therapy may abrogate or diminish the efficacy of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and we draw physicians' attention towards this potential risk so that it can be considered when evaluating the risk/benefit ratio of anti-CD20 therapy during the current pandemic.

Keywords: Anti-CD20 antibody; COVID-19; Rituximab; SARS-CoV-2; Vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antigens, CD20*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Rituximab / adverse effects*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antigens, CD20
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Viral Vaccines
  • Rituximab
  • ocrelizumab
  • ofatumumab
  • obinutuzumab