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COVID vaccine booster dose may benefit organ transplant patients: Study

ANI | Updated: Aug 14, 2021 00:32 IST

New Delhi [India], August 14 (ANI): Organ transplant recipients may get benefit from a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as a booster shot that will push the response rate, according to a study conducted by Canadian scientists.
During the study, a randomised trial was conducted wherein 120 organ transplant recipients, who were fully vaccinated were divided into two groups. No patient had a previous diagnosis of COVID-19. One group received a third dose of the COVID vaccine while the other received saline.
The primary investigation was based upon antibody level greater than 100 U/ml against the spike protein of the virus. The researchers found the response rate was 55 per cent among those who had received the third dose compared to 18 per cent who had not received the third dose.

"The third dose of mRNA vaccine in transplant recipients had substantially higher immunogenicity than placebo, as determined in our analysis of both primary and secondary trial endpoints. This trial had short follow-up and was not powered to detect differences in clinical outcomes," says the study which has been published in New England Journal of Medicine.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Anil Arora, chairman, Institute of Liver Gastroenterology and Pancreaticobiliary Sciences, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, "This is an excellent study which looks at the response to COVID-19 vaccination in immune-compromised patients. In previously published trials most of the studies have shown consistently poor response to COVID vaccination in patients with organ transplants. This is quite understandable because the immune system has to be robust to generate a response to the antigens presented by the vaccine."
Dr Arora further explained that organ transplant patients are routinely prescribed immunosuppressive medicines to prevent the rejection of the transplanted organ. As a result, they have a compromised immune system that is not able to adequately generate the antibodies against the COVID antigens as a part and parcel of the vaccine.
"The third dose can work as a booster dose that will push the response rate. In all such cases with immune suppression, you may need higher doses of vaccination at frequent intervals so as to jack up the compromised immune response. This study reiterates that the third dose as a booster pushes up the response rate up to 55 per cent which is still suboptimal as compare to an immune-competent person who will have an excellent response in 90 per cent of the time," stated Dr Arora. (ANI)