People with HIV receiving suppressive antiretroviral therapy show typical antibody durability after dual COVID-19 vaccination, and strong third dose responses

J Infect Dis. 2022 Jun 7;jiac229. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiac229. Online ahead of print.


Background: Longer-term humoral responses to two-dose COVID-19 vaccines remain incompletely characterized in people living with HIV (PLWH), as do initial responses to a third dose.

Methods: We measured antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain, ACE2 displacement and viral neutralization against wild-type and Omicron strains up to six months following two-dose vaccination, and one month following the third dose, in 99 PLWH receiving suppressive antiretroviral therapy, and 152 controls.

Results: Though humoral responses naturally decline following two-dose vaccination, we found no evidence of lower antibody concentrations nor faster rates of antibody decline in PLWH compared to controls after accounting for sociodemographic, health and vaccine-related factors. We also found no evidence of poorer viral neutralization in PLWH after two doses, nor evidence that a low nadir CD4+ T-cell count compromised responses. Post-third-dose humoral responses substantially exceeded post-second-dose levels, though Omicron-specific responses were consistently weaker than against wild-type. Nevertheless, post-third-dose responses in PLWH were comparable to or higher than controls. An mRNA-1273 third dose was the strongest consistent correlate of higher post-third-dose responses.

Conclusion: PLWH receiving suppressive antiretroviral therapy mount strong antibody responses after two- and three-dose COVID-19 vaccination. Results underscore the immune benefits of third doses in light of Omicron.

Keywords: COVID-19; HIV; antibodies; humoral; immune response; neutralization; third dose; vaccines.