Blood cancer patients showing suboptimal response to COVID-19 vaccines: Study

Blood cancer patients showing suboptimal response to COVID-19 vaccines: Study

A recent study conducted by Mount Sinai researchers in Egypt found that multiple myeloma patients mount variable and sometimes suboptimal responses after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Multiple Myeloma is a type of cancerous condition where a group of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow, becomes cancerous and multiplies. The disease can damage the bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count.

Researchers analyzed the antibody levels of 320 multiple myeloma patients, 260 of whom received two doses of COVID-19 vaccinations, and found that 15.8 per cent had undetectable antibodies. The multiple myeloma patients who had had COVID-19 before vaccination showed immune responses that were 10 times higher than those who had not.

The researchers found that multiple myeloma patients had a widely variable response to COVID-19 vaccines–in some cases, no detectable response. Almost 16 per cent of these patients developed no detectable antibodies after both vaccine doses.

The researchers noted that these findings may be relevant to other cancer patients undergoing treatment and to immunocompromised patients. They highlighted the importance of antibody testing and precautions for these patients after vaccination.

Samir Parekh, MD, Co-Lead Author, said that their study underscores the need for routine blood tests on multiple myeloma patients after vaccination to understand their risk and the potential need to continue wearing masks and socially distance until the pandemic wanes.

“This also calls for clinical trials to study the use of prophylactic therapies, like monoclonal antibodies, to mitigate COVID-19 risk or to use different vaccines or booster vaccinations in these patients.”

Ania Wajnberg, a co-lead author of the study, said: “As we continue to reopen the country, it is important for people with immune system disorders, including multiple myeloma, to work with their doctors and to understand their responses to their COVID-19 vaccines due to the varied antibody responses to the vaccines we see in this study.”