Some arthritis drugs may reduce COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

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In a new study from the Arthritis Foundation, researchers found some arthritis drugs may reduce the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.

The finding suggests that disease-modifying drugs used for arthritis may reduce the response of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

In the study, the team tested 133 fully vaccinated people taking immunosuppressive medications.

They found that their antibody levels and ability to neutralize the virus were three times lower than in people not taking these medications.

However, most patients in the study were able to mount antibody responses in response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, which is reassuring.

No research on the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in people taking immunosuppressive medications has been reported.

The team suggested patients ask their health care provider if they are likely to see benefits from additional vaccination.

They have not seen any safety signals in patients with autoimmune and rheumatic diseases from the COVID-19 vaccines, so there should be no concern for the third dose.

They added that it’s still unclear how much protection a third or fourth booster provides to immunocompromised patients, such as those with cancer, organ transplants and those taking immunosuppressive medications.

So, even if these patients do receive additional COVID vaccine doses, they should continue to take precautions such as physical distancing and wearing masks.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises immunocompromised patients who received an mRNA vaccine to seek third doses at least four weeks after their second shot. If possible, the booster should match their previous shots.

The Arthritis Foundation noted that there is some evidence that an mRNA booster may improve immunity in those who first received the J&J vaccine.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new risk factor for severe COVID-19, and new antibody treatment for COVID-19.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about a familiar drug that could help treat COVID-19, and results showing that people can lose 80% of their COVID-19 immunity 6 months after Pfizer shot.

The study is published on MedRxiv. One author of the study is Dr. Alfred Kim.

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