14 August 2023

People immunocompromised through lymphoma benefit from increasing numbers of COVID-19 booster vaccines, according to a new study.

The PROSECO study involved about 500 patients with lymphoma recruited at nine hospitals in England in 2021 and 2022.

Samples of blood were tested for antibody levels and T-cell responses before any COVID vaccine, and then after their first, second, third, and fourth doses.

The results of the study suggest that a fourth vaccine dose leads to the development of antibodies with greater effectiveness than after the earlier doses.

The research team, led by Dr Sean Lim of the University of Southampton, say this implies that with increasing vaccine doses, high quality antibodies are produced.

The team were also able to identify spike antibody levels which could reliably distinguish between people at high or low risk of ‘breakthrough infections’ (contracting COVID after vaccination).

Findings appeared in The Lancet. The authors write: “To our knowledge, this study is the first to successfully establish an association between antibody and T-cell responses and clinical outcomes from COVID-19 disease in people who are immunocompromised.

“These data support the need to promote booster-vaccine uptake, particularly among people who are immunocompromised,” they add.

Dr Lim commented: “While the threat from COVID-19 is greatly reduced for most of us, for those with weakened immune systems, such as blood cancer patients, the risk remains very real.

“Our findings support the need for immunocompromised patients to continue booster vaccinations to maintain a high level of protection.

“The PROSECO study also shows that antibody testing, and potentially T-cell testing, can help establish the risk of COVID-19 for patients with lymphoma at an individual level.”



Wijaya R, Johnson M, Campbell N, Stuart B, Kelly A, Tipler N, Menne T, Ahearne MJ, Willimott V, Al-Naeeb AB, Fox CP, Collins GP, O’Callaghan A, Davies AJ, Goldblatt D, Lim SH, on behalf of the PROSECO investigators. (2023) “Predicting COVID-19 infection risk in immunocompromised people by antibody testing.” Lancet, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(23)01180-7

Link: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)01180-7/fulltext

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