. Scientific Frontline: Corona vaccination also protects people infected with HIV

Friday, December 9, 2022

Corona vaccination also protects people infected with HIV

They represent the study team: Clara Bessen, Carlos Plaza Sirvent, Adriane Skaletz-Rorowski, Anja Potthoff and Agit Simsek (from left).
Photo Credit: RUB, Marquard

A study shows that booster vaccination is particularly useful.

HIV-infected people who receive antiretroviral therapy form antibodies against Sars-Cov-2 after the Corona vaccination with mRNA vaccines. However, your immune response to vaccination is less strong than that of healthy people. The difference is reduced by a third vaccination. These results were achieved by a study with a total of 91 participants, which was carried out by a research team led by Prof. Dr. Ingo Schmitz, head of the Molecular Immunology Department at the Ruhr University in Bochum. The researchers report in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Vaccination protection for acquired immunodeficiency

Studies have shown that Sars-Cov-2 vaccines protect otherwise healthy people well against a severe course of Covid-19. It has so far been unclear whether this will also be the case for people with acquired immune deficiency. The research team led by Ingo Schmitz and Dr. Anja Potthoff from the Walk in Ruhr (WIR) Center for Sexual Health and Medicine at the RUB University Hospital included 71 people in her study who are HIV positive and receive antiretroviral therapy. 20 HIV-negative control persons also participated. After the first, second and third vaccinations with the mRNA vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer, they examined the immune response of the participants.

"We found that vaccination also leads to the formation of antibodies in this group, but less well than in healthy people," reports Ingo Schmitz. “Since the third vaccination reduced this difference, we consider booster vaccinations to be recommended."

Amazingly good cellular immune response

It was astonishing for the researchers to recognize that the cellular immune response mediated by T helper cells was as good for HIV-positive people as it was for HIV-negative people. "And this despite the fact that these T-helper cells are attacked by the HI virus and their number is reduced in HIV-positive people," emphasizes Ingo Schmitz. Since the T helper cells are more durable than antibodies, this could indicate that HIV-positive people are protected by vaccination for as long as HIV-negative ones.

In addition to the Department of Molecular Immunology at the Ruhr University in Bochum, the study also included the Department of Molecular and Medical Virology, the Leibniz Institute for Labor Research at the Technical University Dortmund IfADo, the WIR - Walk In Ruhr, Center for Sexual Health and Medicine and the University Clinics for Hematology, Oncology and palliative medicine, the Clinic for Dermatology and the Clinic for Neurology of St. Josef Hospitals Bochum involved.

The project was funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as part of the research grant "SARS-CoV-2 specific T-cell diagnostics", project no. MIL-1-1.

Source/Credit: Ruhr University Bochum

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