The following is a summary of some of the most recent scientific research on the novel coronavirus and attempts to develop therapies and vaccines for COVID-19, the virus’s disease.
Treatments for autoimmune diseases can reduce vaccine responses.
Immunosuppressive medications used to treat inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and ulcerative colitis, according to new findings, can minimise the body’s response to the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Antibody levels and virus neutralisation were around three times lower in 133 completely vaccinated people with those conditions than in a comparison community of vaccinated people not taking such medicines, researchers published on Friday on medRxiv ahead of peer review. The majority of the patients in the study “were able to mount antibody responses in response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, which is encouraging,” according to coauthor Alfred Kim of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
According to Kim, it’s still unclear if lower antibody levels would result in less protection from infection or hospitalisation.
The 10-fold reduction in vaccine-induced antibody levels seen in patients who regularly use steroids such as prednisone and methylprednisolone, as well as a 36-fold reduction seen with drugs that deplete B cells, such as Roche’s Rituxan (rituximab) and Ocrevus, was particularly troubling, he said (ocrelizumab).
TNF inhibitors, such as Abbvie’s Humira (adalimumab) and Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept); antimetabolites, such as methotrexate and sulfasalazine; JAK inhibitors, such as Pfizer’s Xeljanz (tofacitinib); gut-specific agents, such as Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Entyvio (vedolizum (ustekinum
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