Introduction: There is ongoing debate regarding the role of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in asthma exacerbation, and its long-term impact on the lung function of individuals with asthma. In contrast, the potential impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination on asthma is entirely unexplored.
Case study: This study examined a challenging case of severe asthma exacerbation in a 28-year-old female following two doses of the mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) at IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia, Italy. The patient, a fourth-year resident at the hospital, was vaccinated in early 2021. She was an occasional smoker with a 10-year history of asthma and seasonal allergic rhinitis. She tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 on several molecular swabs and serology tests.
Results: After receiving the second dose of vaccine, the patient started to experience worsening of respiratory symptoms. Following several episodes and a severe asthma attack, the patient required treatment with mepolizumab, a biologic drug (interleukin-5) antagonist monoclonal antibody.
Conclusion: This single case study is insufficient to draw conclusions about the association between asthma exacerbation and the COVID-19 vaccine. While the cause-effect link between vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 and worsening of asthmatic disease might only be suggested at present, this case is a valuable prompt for further investigation. This is particularly true from the perspective of mass vaccination of adolescents and children currently underway across the globe.
Keywords: Asthma exacerbation; COVID-19 vaccination; Long COVID; Mass vaccination; Monoclonal antibody against interleukin-5; SARS-CoV-2.
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