Study: Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 persists 9 months post-symptoms with an altered T cell phenotype compared to influenza A virus-specific memory. Image Credit: CI Photos / Shutterstock

Immune memory responses differ between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A

  • June 15, 2021

Researchers in Canada have shown that the long-lasting immunity that develops following infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is characterized by different T cell responses than those observed for influenza A virus-specific immune memory.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is the agent responsible for the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has caused more than 176 million infections and more than 3.8 million deaths since the outbreak first began in late December 2019.

It is still unclear whether the T cell, B cell, and antibody responses triggered by an infection with SARS-CoV-2 resemble those triggered by a typical respiratory virus.

All successful viruses must suppress the host’s innate immune response to some extent, but how the unique features of the early response to SARS-CoV-2 impact long-term immunity to SARS-CoV-2 compared with other respiratory viruses remains unknown, says the team from Sinai Health System in Toronto and the University of Toronto in Oregon.

Now, Tania Watts and colleagues have shown that among 24 recovered individuals, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses were distinct from those typically observed for influenza A virus (IAV).

The T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 exhibited a lower CD8+: CD4+ T cell ratio and a higher proportion of interleukin 2- (IL-2) and IL-6-producing cells, as well as an altered cytotoxic profile, compared with IAV-specific memory responses.

These T cell responses and altered phenotype lasted for about nine months following symptom onset.

“These data suggest that the memory T-cell phenotype after a single infection with SARS-CoV-2 persists over time, with an altered cytokine and cytotoxic profile compared to long term memory to IAV within the same subjects,” writes the team.

A pre-print version of the research paper is available on the medRxiv* server, while the article undergoes peer review.

Study: Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 persists 9 months post-symptoms with an altered T cell phenotype compared to influenza A virus-specific memory. Image Credit: CI Photos / Shutterstock

A large proportion of the global population needs to acquire immunity to SARS-CoV-2

The SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to circulate in many regions of the world and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic will require immunity among a large proportion of the global population.

Although vaccine-induced immunity is a key component in acquiring SARS-CoV-2 immunity, a substantial number of people have recovered from COVID-19. It is crucial to understand how these individuals maintain and develop immunity to the virus.

While all successful viruses suppress the host’s innate immune response to some degree, SARS-CoV-2 is particularly adept at evading type I and III interferon (IFN) responses, and people with defects in IFN signaling are overrepresented among severe COVID-19 cases.

“Whether these unique features of the early response to SARS-CoV-2 impact long-term immunity to SARS-CoV-2 compared to other respiratory viruses remains unknown,” writes Watts and colleagues.

What did the study involve?

The researchers assessed the persistence and phenotype of T cell and antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 among 24 recovered individuals at a median of 45 days and 145 days post-symptom onset. The majority (75%) of participants had recovered from mild disease that did not require hospitalization.

Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 95% of participants.

A strong correlation was observed between plasma and salivary levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) directed at the viral spike protein and its receptor-binding domain (RBD). The spike RBD mediates the initial stage of the infection process by binding to the host cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

A correlation was also observed between circulating T follicular helper cells and the SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG response.

All individuals had CD4+ T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 that decayed with a half-life of five to six months for spike-specific IL-2-producing cells.

T cell memory phenotype differed between SARS-CoV-2 and IAV

The phenotype of the SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells differed from that of T cell memory responses to IAV within the same individuals.

The response to SARS-CoV-2 was characterized by a lower ratio of CD8+: CD4+ T cell and a lower ratio of IFN-g-: IL-2-producing cells, compared with IAV-specific memory responses.

The analysis also revealed a decreased IFN-g: IL-6 ratio and an altered profile of cytotoxic molecules compared with IAV-specific responses.

These T cell responses and altered phenotype persisted for about nine months following symptom onset.

The responses to IAV were about two to three times more stable than the responses to SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers say that since boosting is known to increase the duration of T cell immunity, this finding likely reflects the IAV-specific memory being boosted over a lifetime of exposure or vaccination.

“The response to SARS-CoV-2 represents a primary infection; whether this will change upon boosting remains to be determined,” they add.

What did the authors conclude?

The researchers say the findings demonstrate that most individuals in a cohort of recovered, mainly mild cases have detectable T and antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 for around nine months post-infection.

“Although a limitation of our study is that the IAV-specific responses measured here represent a lifetime of exposure to IAV, whereas SARS-CoV-2-specific responses represent the response to a new infection… the data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses are distinct from the typical response to the respiratory pathogen IAV,” concludes the team.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Health expert explains how COVID-19 vaccines strengthen immune system to fight the virus

Health expert explains how COVID-19 vaccines strengthen immune system to fight the virus

  • June 15, 2021

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – When getting vaccinated for the COVID-19 shot, it can make you feel crummy for a couple days but doctors say that doesn’t mean your immune system is slacking.

Even if you experience side effects, doctors say the vaccine does not weaken your immune system, instead, it strengthens it.

COVID-19 vaccines strengthen the immune system’s response to the virus, and the body having chills or fatigue is your immune system ramping up its power.

“We know that immune response can vary,” explained ADPH’s Dr. Karen Landers.

The data supports the conclusion that getting the vaccine will lessen the potential of a really bad case of COVID if you’re one of the people to contract it after getting the shot.

“Persons are less likely to have a severe illness, less likely to be hospitalized and they are less likely to die,” said Dr. Landers.

The vaccine arms the immune system with fighters, but they don’t always win; 800 Alabama residents who got the vaccine, got COVID after.

“We’ve had 54 people hospitalized which is an exceedingly small number,” said Dr. Landers.

She says the shot is the only surefire way to give your body the tools to effectively ward off worse case-scenarios.

Breakthrough cases are usually identified in people who go to the doctor with symptoms, so if you do have symptoms go get tested.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Children's immune response more effective against COVID-19 -- ScienceDaily

Researchers discover how cowpea mosaic plant virus activates immune system against cancer — ScienceDaily

  • June 14, 2021

Previous work by a team of researchers led by Steven N. Fiering, PhD, Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy researcher at Dartmouth’s and Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Nicole Steinmetz, PhD, Jacobs School of Engineering and Moores Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, showed that a plant virus that does not infect mammals, cowpea mosaic plant virus (CPMV), when injected into cancerous tumors, strongly stimulated the immune system to attack and often eliminate the tumor. However, very little was understood about immune recognition of plant viruses and how and why CPMV is exceptionally immuno-stimulating. In a new study, the team identifies just how CPMV is recognized by the immune system, opening the door for CPMV to be pursued as a new biological drug for treatment of cancer.

CPMV is recognized by the immune system as a pathogen — any infectious agent that can cause disease — through a family of receptors on immune cells called toll-like receptors. Toll-like receptors recognize molecules that signal the invasion of a pathogen and send a warning signal to the immune cells to mobilize to attack the pathogen. When tumors are injected with CPMV, the immune system activates and attacks the tumors by way of this pathogen pattern recognition. “The recognition of CPMV by toll-like receptors illustrates how these receptors are quite flexible and recognize many more molecular patterns than immunologists previously knew,” says Fiering.

During the immune stimulation process, the immune cells release proteins that signal and activate other immune cells, known as cytokines. The team’s study, “Cowpea mosaic virus stimulates antitumor immunity through recognition by multiple MYD88-dependent toll-like receptors,” newly published in Biomaterials, identifies the three toll-like receptors that recognize CPMV. The paper also highlights the importance of a particular cytokine, “interferon alpha,” for strong anti-tumor impact when used as an in situ vaccine to treat cancer.

In situ vaccination, in which tumors are directly treated with immune stimulating reagents, have powerful potential to improve cancer immunotherapy in a safe and inexpensive manner. “In situ vaccination has made contributions already to cancer treatment. CPMV is an excellent reagent that may soon be used to help patients in the same manner,” says Fiering. “The in situ vaccination treatment of a tumor by CPMV can stimulate the immune system to also attack distant metastatic tumors that have not been treated.”

Commercial development of CPMV as a biological drug for the treatment of cancer in the form of in situ vaccination is in progress by Mosaic ImmunoEngineering Inc., a biotech company co-founded by Steinmetz and Fiering with a team of scientists and entrepreneurs. The company has licensed the rights to this technology and is actively pursuing bringing it to the clinic for the direct benefit of patients.

Phase I trials of CPMV in situ vaccination in humans are planned to start in late 2021 or early 2022.

Steven N. Fiering, PhD, is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and a member of the Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy Research Program at Dartmouth’s and Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center. His research interests include developing clinically useful in situ vaccination approaches to generate therapeutic anti-tumor immunity.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

National Herbs and Spices Day 2021: 10 Essential herbs and spices to boost immunity against COVID 19 virus

National Herbs and Spices Day 2021: 10 Essential herbs and spices to boost immunity against COVID 19 virus

  • June 10, 2021

National Herbs and Spices Day is celebrated in the U.S to let people know about the importance of herbs and spices in cooking. So, Chef Natasha Gandhi, Founder, House of Millets shared top 10 herbs and spices that enhance our immunity system to fight with the COVID 19 virus.

National Herbs and Spices Day is celebrated on June 10 in the U.S.A. It’s the day to celebrate tasty dishes with different flavourful spices and herbs that make the preparations delicious. The observation of this day also helps raise awareness amongst us about the importance of herbs and spices in terms of our health. Though, it’s celebrated in the U.S.A, we can also do something on this day for the celebration. So, Chef Natasha Gandhi, Founder, House of Millets talks about some important herbs and spices that boost our immunity against the COVID 19 virus.

Green Chilli

Raw green chillies are highly potent and are loaded with Vitamin C. They also contain capsaicin an antioxidant which helps to maintain skin glow and health. Chillies boost your metabolism once consumed, if you can’t consume them raw, cook them or add in your meals.

Ginger

This pungent root is a pantry staple in most Indian houses; thanks to the Adrak Chai we all love. Add slivers of ginger to your smoothies, juices which will help boost the immune system. Or just consume a ginger honey turmeric lemon shot early in the morning. It is also great to cure nausea and motion sickness as well.

Turmeric

This magical yellow root, contains curcumin which is popular for its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. It’s available in two forms, as root and as powder, and both are great. You can make pickle out of the root, or add in your tea or soups and even dals. The Haldi Doodh or the western version of Turmeric Latte is like a golden liquid to ward off seasonal flu.

Black pepper

It contains properties which help enhance the immune system. A pinch of black pepper in your tea or coffee can go a long way.

Ajwain aka Carom seeds

Ajwain has been the solution to most of the digestive issues. And that’s because the enzymes in ajwain help release gastric juices and thus improving digestion. It is also a good immunity booster and helps combat cold and flu. Just chew some ajwain with warm water and you will see the results immediately.

Triphala 

Triphala contains the antioxidative properties of three fruits- haritaki, bibhitaki and amla. It is loaded with Vitamin C and Vitamin A, both help in strengthening the Immune System.

Tulsi

We can call Tulsi the queen of Indian herbs, found in all home gardens and even worshipped. It has powerful immunity boosting and anti-viral properties. Add in your tea or brew a tea with Tulsi, ginger, lemon and honey to beat fever, cold or cough.

Giloy

This herb is known for its ability to fight diseases caused by bacteria and also helps purify blood. It is rich in antioxidants which helps improve immunity and also digestion.

Moringa

Moringa should be your go to herb during the pandemic. It contains Vitamin C more than Oranges which helps build a strong immune system.

Ashwagandha

As per Ayurveda it helps boost immunity and also reduce inflammation. It also helps body to manage stress. It’s available in powder form, so add it in your drinks, and consume in moderation.

Also Read: World Food Safety Day 2021: Practice THESE 4 steps to maintain food safety and protect it from germs


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Study: Infectious disease mRNA vaccines and a review on epitope prediction for vaccine design. Image Credit: MattLphotography / Shutterstock

The potential of mRNA vaccines for a wide range of diseases

  • June 8, 2021

Vaccination is an important strategy to prevent the transmission of various infectious diseases such as rubella, smallpox, measles, mumps, and recently, coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19).

Vaccines typically contain either dead or weakened virus strains, or a small part of that virus, such as a protein or nucleic acid. When you get a vaccine, your immune system identifies it as foreign. In response, it creates memory cells and antibodies that guard against future infection.

Researchers have explained that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines can encode the preferred antigens from an mRNA sequence.  When the mRNA is inoculated, it offers specific information to the cells such that they can produce specific proteins in the cytoplasm. These proteins trigger immune responses associated with antigen-presenting cells (APCs) or antibodies/immunoglobulin. These immune cells protect the body against diseases.

A new review article published in the journal Briefings in Functional Genomics focuses on the general characteristic features and mechanisms of mRNA vaccines. Further, this review has summarized the current progress of mRNA vaccines that have been developed for wide-ranging diseases, including COVID-19 disease.

Study: Infectious disease mRNA vaccines and a review on epitope prediction for vaccine design. Image Credit: MattLphotography / Shutterstock

The main reasons the mRNA vaccine has been considered a strong vaccine candidate to prevent COVID-19 disease are its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and rapid development speed.

Further, in comparison to other types of vaccines, mRNA vaccines have gained popularity owing to their characteristic features, which are most favorable for targeting infectious diseases with genetic instability.

Also, the main advantages of using mRNA as a source of antigen are its ability to induce MHC-I presentation and stimulating cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses.

These characteristic features provide huge versatility in the types and number of antigenic determinants. Two of the main types of mRNA that are evaluated as vaccine candidates are (a) non-replicating mRNA and (b) virally derived self-amplifying mRNA.

One of the persisting issues in the development of mRNA vaccines is thermostability. Two recently developed mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines require a steady temperature of -70°C during their storage and transportation. Such a feature limits their availability in rural areas and low-income countries. However, recently researchers have developed thermostable mRNA vaccines with a freeze-dry protocol. Scientists believe more research on the optimization of vaccine formulation may help improve the thermostability of mRNA vaccines.

Scientists have stated that epitopes are an important feature that is often ignored for enhancing the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines. These antigenic determinants are recognized by the immune system and determine the type of immune response to be triggered. Epitopes are divided into T-cell and B-cell epitopes. The T-cell epitopes are present on the surface of an APC and are attached to major histocompatibility. The B-cell epitopes are bound by immunoglobulin or antibodies. For peptide-based vaccines, the epitope-based vaccine design has been used. Two examples of epitope-based vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 are UB-612 and NVX-CoV2373.

Scientists have developed several epitope prediction models, which can be categorized into sequence-based and structure-based methods. Although the sequence-based methods have become obsolete, their concept is still being used in motif search. The neural network offers a suitable approach to study the relationships and describing non-linear data.

For epitope prediction, a support vector machine is widely used and has been demonstrated in models such as COBEPRO (linear B-cell epitope prediction model) and Pcleavage (cleavage sites prediction model). For structural models, standard computational models such as docking of peptides, knowledge-based threading algorithms, etc., are used. These epitope predictions help researchers to identify epitopes that can provide immunogenicity and cross-reactivity for a target pathogen. For many viruses, epitopes can be found in online databases, such as the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB).

Two of the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines have used similar immunogen design and delivery systems. They elicit immune responses which are comparable to natural viral infection. Even though both of these vaccines have shown promising efficacy in clinical trials, optimization related to epitopes may help develop more stable and effective vaccines. For example, prefusion conformation needs more factors to be maintained after inoculation, as the macromolecules could get modified by environmental parameters. Further, incorporating another immunogen (e.g., N protein) could provide an additional target for immune response. This could boost vaccine efficiency and lower the risk of mutation escape.

Even though the use of S protein in the vaccine could mimic a natural viral infection, the neutralizing antibodies and T-cells can only get attached to specific peptides. Therefore, encoding specific epitopes could enhance the stability of the mRNA vaccine. Also, in the case of extreme mutation in SARS-CoV-2’s S protein, the virus could escape immunity elicited by the currently available vaccines. It could be easier to adapt to new mutations by re-adjusting the epitopes instead of redesigning the vaccine. For vaccine designing, the use of computational models is highly advantageous because of their flexibility.

mRNA vaccines had been previously applied for preventing a range of infectious as well as non-infectious diseases such as influenza and cancer. Based on human epitope prediction models, this article illustrates how mRNA vaccine design can be improved by recent advances in bioinformatics.

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus – The Reporter

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus – The Reporter

  • June 8, 2021

A Napa woman has died of COVID-19 despite being fully inoculated, offering a sharp reminder that vaccinated people are not invincible, especially if they are medically vulnerable and the virus is still circulating widely.

“No vaccine is 100% effective, but this does not diminish the urgency and importance of getting vaccinated, especially as more variant strains emerge,” said Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio. “Vaccines provide exceptional protection against death and illness from the virus and all residents should continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”

The woman, who was not identified, died Wednesday after a prolonged hospitalization. She had underlying medical conditions and was over the age of 65.

Out of more than 17 million fully vaccinated Californians, there have been 5,305 post-vaccination COVID-19 cases identified as of May 26 – a “breakthrough” rate of 0.03%, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Of these, at least 373 people were hospitalized and least 40 have died. It is not known if the primary cause of hospitalization or death was COVID-19 or if there were other causes, CDPH said.

There is little data about vaccines’ effectiveness in people with underlying health problems, especially immune impairment, because they weren’t included in the vaccines’ initial trials.

But there is growing evidence that people who are immunocompromised may not mount a strong response to the vaccine.

That underscores the importance of widespread vaccination, health experts say. Vulnerable people are insulated only when everyone else is vaccinated, so the virus can’t find enough people to infect and stops its deadly spread.

Dr. Brian Schwartz, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSF Health, said it’s particularly important to vaccinate friends and family members of people with compromised immune systems.

“You want to build a wall of immunity at home… That’s going to significantly reduce the chance of getting infected,” he said.

People with weakened immune systems should also wear masks and keep distance between themselves and unvaccinated people, he said.

In March, a fully vaccinated Chicago man died of COVID-19 after dining out with friends, one of whom tested positive for the virus in the days following the meal. The man who died had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2019.

People can be immunocompromised for varying reasons, Schwartz said.

“It’s a heterogeneous group. There’s lots of different medications that affect different pathways of the immune system and therefore you’re going to expect to see different responses to vaccines,” he said..

They may be on medicines to suppress their immune system if they suffer from an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis.

Some medicines — such as rituximab, methotrexate and prednisone — deplete the B cells that the body needs to make antibodies, according to Dr. Lianne Gensler, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the San Francisco Veterans Administration.

When vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies – but not enough of them. In one study, there was a three-fold reduction in antibody levels in vaccinated people with autoimmune disease, as compared to healthy people. Steroids produced a ten-fold drop.

Chemotherapy for cancer treatment also dials down the immune system. Some blood cancers can also put people at risk. While people with breast and gastrointestinal cancer had a 95% response to the vaccine, those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia only had a 23% response.

People who have received organ and bone marrow transplants and are on anti-rejection medications, which reduce their natural defenses, are vulnerable. One study found a modest 38% to 59% antibody response to vaccines in people who had received an organ transplant.

Medical tests – specifically, a test which measures the “anti-spike IgG antibody” – can reveal the strength of an immune response.  But it is not yet known how many antibodies are necessary to be protective. And these tests don’t measure a second arm of the immune system, involving T cells.

Even partial immunity can help, though. For people who are vaccinated but still get sick, there is evidence that their risk of severe illness and death is less than in those with similar risk factors who are not vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is working with state and local health departments to investigate these COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases. The goal is to identify any unusual patterns, such as trends in underlying health conditions, age, sex, the vaccine used or which variant of the virus made these people sick.

Scientists are seeking ways to boost the immune response in these vulnerable patients. They are researching whether they need higher-dose vaccines. Or maybe they need a later “booster.”  Perhaps they may get better protection if their immune-suppressing treatment is suspended during vaccination.

“This is an area that we need to continue to learn more about,” said Schwartz. “Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make really good judgments.”

Fully-vaccinated California woman dies from virus – Twin Cities

Fully-vaccinated California woman dies from virus – Twin Cities

  • June 8, 2021

A Napa, Calif., woman has died of COVID-19 despite being fully inoculated, offering a sharp reminder that vaccinated people are not invincible, especially if they are medically vulnerable and the virus is still circulating widely.

“No vaccine is 100% effective, but this does not diminish the urgency and importance of getting vaccinated, especially as more variant strains emerge,” said Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio. “Vaccines provide exceptional protection against death and illness from the virus and all residents should continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”

The woman, who was not identified, died Wednesday after a prolonged hospitalization. She had underlying medical conditions and was over the age of 65.

Out of more than 17 million fully vaccinated Californians, there have been 5,305 post-vaccination COVID-19 cases identified as of May 26 – a “breakthrough” rate of 0.03%, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Of these, at least 373 people were hospitalized and least 40 have died. It is not known if the primary cause of hospitalization or death was COVID-19 or if there were other causes, CDPH said.

There is little data about vaccines’ effectiveness in people with underlying health problems, especially immune impairment, because they weren’t included in the vaccines’ initial trials.

But there is growing evidence that people who are immunocompromised may not mount a strong response to the vaccine.

That underscores the importance of widespread vaccination, health experts say. Vulnerable people are insulated only when everyone else is vaccinated, so the virus can’t find enough people to infect and stops its deadly spread.

Dr. Brian Schwartz, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSF Health, said it’s particularly important to vaccinate friends and family members of people with compromised immune systems.

“You want to build a wall of immunity at home… That’s going to significantly reduce the chance of getting infected,” he said.

People with weakened immune systems should also wear masks and keep distance between themselves and unvaccinated people, he said.

In March, a fully vaccinated Chicago man died of COVID-19 after dining out with friends, one of whom tested positive for the virus in the days following the meal. The man who died had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2019.

People can be immunocompromised for varying reasons, Schwartz said.

“It’s a heterogeneous group. There’s lots of different medications that affect different pathways of the immune system and therefore you’re going to expect to see different responses to vaccines,” he said..

They may be on medicines to suppress their immune system if they suffer from an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis.

Some medicines — such as rituximab, methotrexate and prednisone — deplete the B cells that the body needs to make antibodies, according to Dr. Lianne Gensler, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the San Francisco Veterans Administration.

When vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies – but not enough of them. In one study, there was a three-fold reduction in antibody levels in vaccinated people with autoimmune disease, as compared to healthy people. Steroids produced a ten-fold drop.

Chemotherapy for cancer treatment also dials down the immune system. Some blood cancers can also put people at risk. While people with breast and gastrointestinal cancer had a 95% response to the vaccine, those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia only had a 23% response.

People who have received organ and bone marrow transplants and are on anti-rejection medications, which reduce their natural defenses, are vulnerable. One study found a modest 38% to 59% antibody response to vaccines in people who had received an organ transplant.

Medical tests – specifically, a test which measures the “anti-spike IgG antibody” – can reveal the strength of an immune response.  But it is not yet known how many antibodies are necessary to be protective. And these tests don’t measure a second arm of the immune system, involving T cells.

Even partial immunity can help, though. For people who are vaccinated but still get sick, there is evidence that their risk of severe illness and death is less than in those with similar risk factors who are not vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is working with state and local health departments to investigate these COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases. The goal is to identify any unusual patterns, such as trends in underlying health conditions, age, sex, the vaccine used or which variant of the virus made these people sick.

Scientists are seeking ways to boost the immune response in these vulnerable patients. They are researching whether they need higher-dose vaccines. Or maybe they need a later “booster.”  Perhaps they may get better protection if their immune-suppressing treatment is suspended during vaccination.

“This is an area that we need to continue to learn more about,” said Schwartz. “Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make really good judgments.”

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus – Red Bluff Daily News

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus – Red Bluff Daily News

  • June 8, 2021

A Napa woman has died of COVID-19 despite being fully inoculated, offering a sharp reminder that vaccinated people are not invincible, especially if they are medically vulnerable and the virus is still circulating widely.

“No vaccine is 100% effective, but this does not diminish the urgency and importance of getting vaccinated, especially as more variant strains emerge,” said Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio. “Vaccines provide exceptional protection against death and illness from the virus and all residents should continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”

The woman, who was not identified, died Wednesday after a prolonged hospitalization. She had underlying medical conditions and was over the age of 65.

Out of more than 17 million fully vaccinated Californians, there have been 5,305 post-vaccination COVID-19 cases identified as of May 26 – a “breakthrough” rate of 0.03%, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Of these, at least 373 people were hospitalized and least 40 have died. It is not known if the primary cause of hospitalization or death was COVID-19 or if there were other causes, CDPH said.

There is little data about vaccines’ effectiveness in people with underlying health problems, especially immune impairment, because they weren’t included in the vaccines’ initial trials.

But there is growing evidence that people who are immunocompromised may not mount a strong response to the vaccine.

That underscores the importance of widespread vaccination, health experts say. Vulnerable people are insulated only when everyone else is vaccinated, so the virus can’t find enough people to infect and stops its deadly spread.

Dr. Brian Schwartz, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSF Health, said it’s particularly important to vaccinate friends and family members of people with compromised immune systems.

“You want to build a wall of immunity at home… That’s going to significantly reduce the chance of getting infected,” he said.

People with weakened immune systems should also wear masks and keep distance between themselves and unvaccinated people, he said.

In March, a fully vaccinated Chicago man died of COVID-19 after dining out with friends, one of whom tested positive for the virus in the days following the meal. The man who died had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2019.

People can be immunocompromised for varying reasons, Schwartz said.

“It’s a heterogeneous group. There’s lots of different medications that affect different pathways of the immune system and therefore you’re going to expect to see different responses to vaccines,” he said..

They may be on medicines to suppress their immune system if they suffer from an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis.

Some medicines — such as Rituximab, methotrexate and predisone — deplete the B cells that the body needs to make antibodies, according to Dr. Lianne Gensler, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the San Francisco Veterans Administration.

When vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies – but not enough of them. In one study, there was a three-fold reduction in antibody levels in vaccinated people with autoimmune disease, as compared to healthy people. Steroids produced a ten-fold drop.

Chemotherapy for cancer treatment also dials down the immune system. Some blood cancers can also put people at risk. While people with breast and gastrointestinal cancer had a 95% response to the vaccine, those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia only had a 23% response.

People who have received organ and bone marrow transplants and are on anti-rejection medications, which reduce their natural defenses, are vulnerable. One study found a modest 38% to 59% antibody response to vaccines in people who had received an organ transplant.

Medical tests – specifically, a test which measures the “anti-spike IgG antibody” – can reveal the strength of an immune response.  But it is not yet known how many antibodies are necessary to be protective. And these tests don’t measure a second arm of the immune system, involving T cells.

Even partial immunity can help, though. For people who are vaccinated but still get sick, there is evidence that their risk of severe illness and death is less than in those with similar risk factors who are not vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists are seeking ways to boost the immune response in these vulnerable patients. They are researching whether they need higher-dose vaccines. Or maybe they need a later “booster.”  Perhaps they may get better protection if their immune-suppressing treatment is suspended during vaccination.

“This is an area that we need to continue to learn more about,” said Schwartz. “Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make really good judgments.”

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus – Canon City Daily Record

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus – Canon City Daily Record

  • June 8, 2021

A Napa woman has died of COVID-19 despite being fully inoculated, offering a sharp reminder that vaccinated people are not invincible, especially if they are medically vulnerable and the virus is still circulating widely.

“No vaccine is 100% effective, but this does not diminish the urgency and importance of getting vaccinated, especially as more variant strains emerge,” said Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio. “Vaccines provide exceptional protection against death and illness from the virus and all residents should continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”

The woman, who was not identified, died Wednesday after a prolonged hospitalization. She had underlying medical conditions and was over the age of 65.

Out of more than 17 million fully vaccinated Californians, there have been 5,305 post-vaccination COVID-19 cases identified as of May 26 – a “breakthrough” rate of 0.03%, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Of these, at least 373 people were hospitalized and least 40 have died. It is not known if the primary cause of hospitalization or death was COVID-19 or if there were other causes, CDPH said.

There is little data about vaccines’ effectiveness in people with underlying health problems, especially immune impairment, because they weren’t included in the vaccines’ initial trials.

But there is growing evidence that people who are immunocompromised may not mount a strong response to the vaccine.

That underscores the importance of widespread vaccination, health experts say. Vulnerable people are insulated only when everyone else is vaccinated, so the virus can’t find enough people to infect and stops its deadly spread.

Dr. Brian Schwartz, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSF Health, said it’s particularly important to vaccinate friends and family members of people with compromised immune systems.

“You want to build a wall of immunity at home… That’s going to significantly reduce the chance of getting infected,” he said.

People with weakened immune systems should also wear masks and keep distance between themselves and unvaccinated people, he said.

In March, a fully vaccinated Chicago man died of COVID-19 after dining out with friends, one of whom tested positive for the virus in the days following the meal. The man who died had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2019.

People can be immunocompromised for varying reasons, Schwartz said.

“It’s a heterogeneous group. There’s lots of different medications that affect different pathways of the immune system and therefore you’re going to expect to see different responses to vaccines,” he said..

They may be on medicines to suppress their immune system if they suffer from an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis.

Some medicines — such as rituximab, methotrexate and prednisone — deplete the B cells that the body needs to make antibodies, according to Dr. Lianne Gensler, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the San Francisco Veterans Administration.

When vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies – but not enough of them. In one study, there was a three-fold reduction in antibody levels in vaccinated people with autoimmune disease, as compared to healthy people. Steroids produced a ten-fold drop.

Chemotherapy for cancer treatment also dials down the immune system. Some blood cancers can also put people at risk. While people with breast and gastrointestinal cancer had a 95% response to the vaccine, those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia only had a 23% response.

People who have received organ and bone marrow transplants and are on anti-rejection medications, which reduce their natural defenses, are vulnerable. One study found a modest 38% to 59% antibody response to vaccines in people who had received an organ transplant.

Medical tests – specifically, a test which measures the “anti-spike IgG antibody” – can reveal the strength of an immune response.  But it is not yet known how many antibodies are necessary to be protective. And these tests don’t measure a second arm of the immune system, involving T cells.

Even partial immunity can help, though. For people who are vaccinated but still get sick, there is evidence that their risk of severe illness and death is less than in those with similar risk factors who are not vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is working with state and local health departments to investigate these COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases. The goal is to identify any unusual patterns, such as trends in underlying health conditions, age, sex, the vaccine used or which variant of the virus made these people sick.

Scientists are seeking ways to boost the immune response in these vulnerable patients. They are researching whether they need higher-dose vaccines. Or maybe they need a later “booster.”  Perhaps they may get better protection if their immune-suppressing treatment is suspended during vaccination.

“This is an area that we need to continue to learn more about,” said Schwartz. “Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make really good judgments.”

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus

Fully-vaccinated Napa woman dies from virus

  • June 7, 2021

A Napa woman has died of COVID-19 despite being fully inoculated, offering a sharp reminder that vaccinated people are not invincible, especially if they are medically vulnerable and the virus is still circulating widely.

“No vaccine is 100% effective, but this does not diminish the urgency and importance of getting vaccinated, especially as more variant strains emerge,” said Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio. “Vaccines provide exceptional protection against death and illness from the virus and all residents should continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”

The woman, who was not identified, died Wednesday after a prolonged hospitalization. She had underlying medical conditions and was over the age of 65.

Out of more than 17 million fully vaccinated Californians, there have been 5,305 post-vaccination COVID-19 cases identified as of May 26 – a “breakthrough” rate of 0.03%, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Of these, at least 373 people were hospitalized and least 40 have died. It is not known if the primary cause of hospitalization or death was COVID-19 or if there were other causes, CDPH said.

There is little data about vaccines’ effectiveness in people with underlying health problems, especially immune impairment, because they weren’t included in the vaccines’ initial trials.

But there is growing evidence that people who are immunocompromised may not mount a strong response to the vaccine.

That underscores the importance of widespread vaccination, health experts say. Vulnerable people are insulated only when everyone else is vaccinated, so the virus can’t find enough people to infect and stops its deadly spread.

Dr. Brian Schwartz, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSF Health, said it’s particularly important to vaccinate friends and family members of people with compromised immune systems.

“You want to build a wall of immunity at home… That’s going to significantly reduce the chance of getting infected,” he said.

People with weakened immune systems should also wear masks and keep distance between themselves and unvaccinated people, he said.

In March, a fully vaccinated Chicago man died of COVID-19 after dining out with friends, one of whom tested positive for the virus in the days following the meal. The man who died had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2019.

People can be immunocompromised for varying reasons, Schwartz said.

“It’s a heterogeneous group. There’s lots of different medications that affect different pathways of the immune system and therefore you’re going to expect to see different responses to vaccines,” he said..

They may be on medicines to suppress their immune system if they suffer from an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis.

Some medicines — such as Rituximab, methotrexate and predisone — deplete the B cells that the body needs to make antibodies, according to Dr. Lianne Gensler, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the San Francisco Veterans Administration.

When vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies – but not enough of them. In one study, there was a three-fold reduction in antibody levels in vaccinated people with autoimmune disease, as compared to healthy people. Steroids produced a ten-fold drop.

Chemotherapy for cancer treatment also dials down the immune system. Some blood cancers can also put people at risk. While people with breast and gastrointestinal cancer had a 95% response to the vaccine, those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia only had a 23% response.

People who have received organ and bone marrow transplants and are on anti-rejection medications, which reduce their natural defenses, are vulnerable. One study found a modest 38% to 59% antibody response to vaccines in people who had received an organ transplant.

Medical tests – specifically, a test which measures the “anti-spike IgG antibody” – can reveal the strength of an immune response.  But it is not yet known how many antibodies are necessary to be protective. And these tests don’t measure a second arm of the immune system, involving T cells.

Even partial immunity can help, though. For people who are vaccinated but still get sick, there is evidence that their risk of severe illness and death is less than in those with similar risk factors who are not vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists are seeking ways to boost the immune response in these vulnerable patients. They are researching whether they need higher-dose vaccines. Or maybe they need a later “booster.”  Perhaps they may get better protection if their immune-suppressing treatment is suspended during vaccination.

“This is an area that we need to continue to learn more about,” said Schwartz. “Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make really good judgments.”

capsimmunesystem.org