Obesity could Hamper SARS-Co-V-2 Vaccine Immunogenicity

The COVID19 pandemic has resulted in applying some control measures such as the use of masks, social distancing which may help limit the transmission. Many studies are being carried out to check the efficacy of the vaccine after COVID19 emergence. Scientists and biopharmaceutical manufacturers are focusing their efforts on developing a vaccine. On 11th December 2020, The US Food and Drug Administration authorized vaccine BNT162b2 for Emergency Use.

A study was conducted where 248 healthcare workers(HCW) were analyzed. The study had 2 goals, the first goal of the study was to analyze the antibody titer response after 7 days of administration of the second dose of vaccine. On the other hand, the second goal was to analyze how antibody titer changes in correlation with age, gender, and BMI. Among the healthcare workers analyzed, 158 were women and 90 were men. The median age was 47 years (ranging from 23-69 years of age).

Participants received a primary dose and a booster dose on Day 21. Blood and Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected on the day of primary doses and 7 days after the booster dose. After the second dose of BNT162b2, 99.5% of participants developed a humoral response. A strong correlation between antibody titers and BMI was noticed. The effectiveness of the COVID19 vaccine in people with obesity is a critical issue. Humoral immune response was efficient in the group with under and normal weight V/S the overweight group. Evidence suggests that SARS-Co-V-2 infections are more severe in obese than those who are lean.

The constant state of low-grade inflammation in overweight people can weaken the immune response particularly the T cells which can directly kill the infected cells. Obesity is linked with microbiomes of the gut, lung, and nose. Previously vaccines against influenza, hepatitis, rabies has shown reduced immune response in those who are obese as compared to those who are lean. This study concludes that females, lean and young people have increased capacity to develop immune humoral responses when compared to males, overweight and older populations. The study also pointed out that obesity may hamper SARS-CoV-2 vaccine immunogenicity. 

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Ref Link: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.24.21251664v1