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      Humoral Response to Pfizer BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster in Maintenance Hemodialysis Patients


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          Coronavirus disease is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. Recent breakthrough infection in vaccinated people has led some authorities to recommend a booster dose for patients fully vaccinated 5–8 months ago. We aimed to assess the humoral response of MHD patients following a booster dose with the BNT162b2 vaccine.


          The study included 102 MHD patients vaccinated with 2 doses of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine. A third dose (booster) was recommended to all MHD patients in our center and was given to those who opted to receive it, resulting in a booster group and a control group that did not receive the booster. Previous exposure was excluded by testing for the presence of the anti-nucleocapsid antibody (SARS-CoV-2) or positive PCR. We assessed the humoral response before and after the booster dose.


          Of 66 patients in the booster group, 65 patients (98.5%) developed a positive antibody response, from 472.7 ± 749.5 to 16,336.8 ± 15,397.3, as compared to a sustained decrease in the control group (695.7 ± 642.7 to 383.6 ± 298.6), p < 0.0001. No significant adverse effects were reported. Prior antibody titers were positively correlated to IgG levels following the booster dose. There was a significant association between malnutrition-inflammation markers and the humoral response.


          Almost all MHD patients developed a substantial humoral response following the booster dose, which was significantly higher than levels reported for MHD patients following administration of 2 doses alone. Further studies and observations are needed to determine the exact timing and dosing schedule.

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          Covid-19 Breakthrough Infections in Vaccinated Health Care Workers

          Background Despite the high efficacy of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), rare breakthrough infections have been reported, including infections among health care workers. Data are needed to characterize these infections and define correlates of breakthrough and infectivity. Methods At the largest medical center in Israel, we identified breakthrough infections by performing extensive evaluations of health care workers who were symptomatic (including mild symptoms) or had known infection exposure. These evaluations included epidemiologic investigations, repeat reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assays, antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic testing (Ag-RDT), serologic assays, and genomic sequencing. Correlates of breakthrough infection were assessed in a case–control analysis. We matched patients with breakthrough infection who had antibody titers obtained within a week before SARS-CoV-2 detection (peri-infection period) with four to five uninfected controls and used generalized estimating equations to predict the geometric mean titers among cases and controls and the ratio between the titers in the two groups. We also assessed the correlation between neutralizing antibody titers and N gene cycle threshold (Ct) values with respect to infectivity. Results Among 1497 fully vaccinated health care workers for whom RT-PCR data were available, 39 SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections were documented. Neutralizing antibody titers in case patients during the peri-infection period were lower than those in matched uninfected controls (case-to-control ratio, 0.361; 95% confidence interval, 0.165 to 0.787). Higher peri-infection neutralizing antibody titers were associated with lower infectivity (higher Ct values). Most breakthrough cases were mild or asymptomatic, although 19% had persistent symptoms (>6 weeks). The B.1.1.7 (alpha) variant was found in 85% of samples tested. A total of 74% of case patients had a high viral load (Ct value, <30) at some point during their infection; however, of these patients, only 17 (59%) had a positive result on concurrent Ag-RDT. No secondary infections were documented. Conclusions Among fully vaccinated health care workers, the occurrence of breakthrough infections with SARS-CoV-2 was correlated with neutralizing antibody titers during the peri-infection period. Most breakthrough infections were mild or asymptomatic, although persistent symptoms did occur.
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            Robust neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 infection persist for months

            SARS-CoV-2 antibodies persist As the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to mount worldwide, the nature of the humoral immune response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains uncertain. Wajnberg et al. used a cohort of more than 30,000 infected individuals with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms to determine the robustness and longevity of the anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibody response. They found that neutralizing antibody titers against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein persisted for at least 5 months after infection. Although continued monitoring of this cohort will be needed to confirm the longevity and potency of this response, these preliminary results suggest that the chance of reinfection may be lower than is currently feared. Science, this issue p. 1227
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              Protection of BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster against Covid-19 in Israel

              Background On July 30, 2021, the administration of a third (booster) dose of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccine (Pfizer–BioNTech) was approved in Israel for persons who were 60 years of age or older and who had received a second dose of vaccine at least 5 months earlier. Data are needed regarding the effect of the booster dose on the rate of confirmed coronavirus 2019 disease (Covid-19) and the rate of severe illness. Methods We extracted data for the period from July 30 through August 31, 2021, from the Israeli Ministry of Health database regarding 1,137,804 persons who were 60 years of age or older and had been fully vaccinated (i.e., had received two doses of BNT162b2) at least 5 months earlier. In the primary analysis, we compared the rate of confirmed Covid-19 and the rate of severe illness between those who had received a booster injection at least 12 days earlier (booster group) and those who had not received a booster injection (nonbooster group). In a secondary analysis, we evaluated the rate of infection 4 to 6 days after the booster dose as compared with the rate at least 12 days after the booster. In all the analyses, we used Poisson regression after adjusting for possible confounding factors. Results At least 12 days after the booster dose, the rate of confirmed infection was lower in the booster group than in the nonbooster group by a factor of 11.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.4 to 12.3); the rate of severe illness was lower by a factor of 19.5 (95% CI, 12.9 to 29.5). In a secondary analysis, the rate of confirmed infection at least 12 days after vaccination was lower than the rate after 4 to 6 days by a factor of 5.4 (95% CI, 4.8 to 6.1). Conclusions In this study involving participants who were 60 years of age or older and had received two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine at least 5 months earlier, we found that the rates of confirmed Covid-19 and severe illness were substantially lower among those who received a booster (third) dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG (Allschwilerstrasse 10, P.O. Box · Postfach · Case postale, CH–4009, Basel, Switzerland · Schweiz · Suisse, Phone: +41 61 306 11 11, Fax: +41 61 306 12 34, karger@karger.com )
                16 February 2022
                16 February 2022
                : 53
                : 2-3
                : 207-214
                [1] aDepartment of Nephrology and Hypertension, Laniado Hospital, Netanya, Israel
                [2] bDepartment of Nephrology and Hypertension, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel
                [3] cSackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
                [4] dDepartment of Nephrology and Hypertension, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel
                [5] eLaboratory for HIV Diagnosis, The HIV Center, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel
                [6] fDepartment of Internal Medicine D, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel
                [7] gInfection Control Unit, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel
                [8] hInterdisciplinary Center (IDC), Reichman University, Herzliya, Israel
                [9] iDepartment of Pulmonology, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2022 by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC). Usage and distribution for commercial purposes requires written permission. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                : 1 November 2021
                : 12 December 2021
                : 2022
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, References: 28, Pages: 8
                Novel Research Findings

                hemodialysis,covid-19 virus,covid-19 vaccine
                hemodialysis, covid-19 virus, covid-19 vaccine


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