Well-Controlled HIV Does Not Impair mRNA Vaccine Response

By Reuters Staff

April 13, 2022

(Reuters) - People living with well-controlled HIV infections are likely to have immune responses to the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and from Pfizer/BioNTech similar to those of otherwise healthy individuals, according to new data.

Researchers studied vaccine responses in 166 people living with HIV who were taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) at one month after they received their second shot. They also looked at responses in 169 healthy individuals.

At the start, 32 patients with HIV had CD4 T cell counts below 200, 56 had CD4 counts of 200-500, and 78 had CD4 counts over 500.

After accounting for patients' other risk factors, the group with CD4 cell counts <200 had only low levels of COVID antibodies and other immune response markers after vaccination, researchers reported in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Compared to the healthy volunteers, participants with CD4 counts between 200 and 500 had a somewhat weaker antibody response to the vaccines.

There was no difference in immune responses between the healthy volunteers and the patients CD4 counts >500.

The results suggest that mRNA vaccines can elicit a robust immune response against SARS-CoV-2 in most people living with HIV and receiving ART, the researchers concluded. Patients with CD4 counts <200 should receive a booster dose, they said. Boosters could also "be reasonably offered" when the CD4 count is between 200 and 500, given that these patients' responses were weaker than responses in the healthy comparison group, the researchers said.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3uzrSAq Clinical Infectious Diseases, online April 2, 2022.