Diseases hamper a robust immune response, which can also be diminished with age and medications; in a prospective study, however, the vaccine reached established minimum criteria

Patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) had a moderate antibody response to Coronavac after taking the second dose of the vaccine, a response considered satisfactory in 70% of them. The vaccine also demonstrated a good safety profile for this group. These are some of the conclusions of a prospective study led by the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP).

As expected by the characteristic of the disease, six weeks after the second dose there was a lower rate of seroconversion (generation of IgG antibodies) in the group with rheumatic disease (70%) compared to the control group (95%). Regarding the production of neutralizing antibodies, the test that assesses the ability of the vaccine to induce an immune response and manage to block the virus binding in the cell by more than 30%, was also reduced in the group of patients with autoimmune diseases (56% against 79%).


The main objective of the study was to evaluate the humoral immunogenicity – which is the ability of a substance to provoke an immune response with the production of antibodies by the patient. We also sought to contribute more data on the safety of the vaccine in the studied group.

Volunteers (910 patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases and 182 healthy adults, age and gender matched) received the two doses of the vaccine within a 28-day interval and were followed for 80 days through face-to-face assistance, telephone, instant message and and -mail.

Previous work investigating the efficacy of messenger RNA vaccines (such as those from Pfizer and Moderna) against Covid-19 in patients with ARD has shown slightly reduced responses, but the results were limited by the absence of a control group and the small number. of patients with ARD. Furthermore, the production of neutralizing antibodies has not necessarily been evaluated.

According to Prof. Eloísa Bonfá, rheumatologist and professor of the Department of Internal Medicine at FMUSP, immunocompromised patients are more likely to develop infectious diseases due to immune dysregulation and treatment regimens for the respective diseases. “For these reasons, we expect a reduced action of the vaccine”, she explains to Jornal da USP. “When we started the work, our intention was to investigate what kind of damage this lesser protection could cause”.

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