SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody response after three doses of mRNA1273 vaccine and COVID-19 in hemodialysis patients
Background: In hemodialysis patients, a third vaccination is frequently administered to augment protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the newly emerged B.1.1.159 (Omicron) variant may evade vaccinal protection more easily than previous strains. It is of clinical interest to better understand the neutralizing activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants after booster vaccine or COVID-19 infection in these mostly immunocompromised patients.
Methods: Hemodialysis patients from four dialysis centers were recruited between June 2021 and February 2022. Each patient provided a median of six serum samples. SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) against wild type (WT) or Omicron were measured using the GenScript SARS-CoV-2 Surrogate Virus Neutralization Test Kit.
Results: Forty-two patients had three doses of mRNA1273. Compared to levels prior to the third dose, nAb-WT increased 18-fold (peak at day 23) and nAb-Omicron increased 23-fold (peak at day 24) after the third dose. Peak nAb-WT exceeded peak nAb-Omicron 27-fold. Twenty-one patients had COVID-19 between December 24, 2021, and February 2, 2022. Following COVID-19, nAb-WT and nAb-Omicron increased 12- and 40-fold, respectively. While levels of vaccinal and post-COVID nAb-WT were comparable, post-COVID nAb-Omicron levels were 3.2 higher than the respective peak vaccinal nAb-Omicron. Four immunocompromised patients having reasons other than end-stage kidney disease have very low to no nAb after the third dose or COVID-19.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that most hemodialysis patients have a strong humoral response to the third dose of vaccination and an even stronger post-COVID-19 humoral response. Nevertheless, nAb levels clearly decay over time. These findings may inform ongoing discussions regarding a fourth vaccination in hemodialysis patients.
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