Background: Although vaccines effectively prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in healthy individuals, they appear to be less immunogenic in individuals with chronic inflammatory disease (CID) or receiving chronic immunosuppression therapy.
Methods: Here we assessed a cohort of 77 individuals with CID treated as monotherapy with chronic immunosuppressive drugs for antibody responses in serum against historical and variant severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viruses after immunization with the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine.
Findings: Longitudinal analysis showed the greatest reductions in neutralizing antibodies and Fc effector function capacity in individuals treated with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) inhibitors (TNFi), and this pattern appeared to be worse against the B.1.617.2 delta virus. Within 5 months of vaccination, serum neutralizing titers of all TNFi-treated individuals tested fell below the presumed threshold correlate for antibody-mediated protection. However, TNFi-treated individuals receiving a third mRNA vaccine dose boosted their serum neutralizing antibody titers by more than 16-fold.
Conclusions: Vaccine boosting or administration of long-acting prophylaxis (e.g., monoclonal antibodies) will likely be required to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in this susceptible population.
Funding: This study was supported by grants and contracts from the NIH (R01 AI157155, R01AI151178, and HHSN75N93019C00074; NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response (CEIRR) contracts HHSN272201400008C and 75N93021C00014; and Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers [CIVIC] contract 75N93019C00051).
Keywords: Fc effector functions; SARS-CoV-2; TNF inhibitors; antibody; immunosuppression; mRNA vaccine; neutralization; variants of concern.
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.