Individualized follow-up of COVID-19 vaccine for some HIV patients

Research teams from IMIM and MELIS-UPF have conducted a study suggesting that some HIV patients do not have an adequate response to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The researchers of the study, are committed to monitoring the immune response of HIV patients after vaccination. Photo: Braňo for Unsplash.

It is estimated that 20% of HIV-infected patients treated with antiretrovirals do not recover their normal blood levels of immune cells. During the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaign, these HIV-infected patients with a depressed immune system were considered a risk group and, therefore, their vaccination was prioritized.

Now, a research from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the Department of Medicine and Life Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University (MELIS-UPF), has studied the response of these patients to the COVID-19 vaccine.

To carry out the study, 10 of these patients were selected and their immune response was monitored after the first and second doses of the vaccine, and then compared with 10 patients belonging to the control group. It was observed that 50% of the patients had an insufficient response and were offered a third booster dose. Three out of five patients accepted and in all cases, an improved response was observed.

“It is necessary to individualize the follow-up of HIV patients who do not recover their immune system after antiretroviral treatment, to measure their response to the Covid-19 vaccine”
Robert Güerri, IMIM-Hospital del Mar

The differences between the immune responses could not be attributed to any specific factor, but the results highlight the need for personalized monitoring of the immune response in these HIV-positive people with depressed immune systems. “For the studied group, it is necessary to certify the response with specific tests to see the degree of response generated, because their response is much more variable”, concludes Andreas Meyerhans, coordinator at MELIS-UPF.

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