It had been previously reported that after receiving two doses of the mRNA vaccine, either Pfizer or Moderna, there were a significant fraction of patients were unable to develop any type of immune response (both humoral or antibody) to the vaccine. This information was then complemented with studies in around 50 myeloma patients showing that this is also true for T cell responses and that patients who don’t have an antibody response are also at high risk of not developing T cell responses either. This suggests that there is a higher vulnerability among myeloma patients for COVID-19 infection.
There are multiple factors contributing to the lack of immune response to the vaccine among myeloma patients, including:
Additionally, an important association with the treatment that myeloma patients are receiving was noted. Dr. Oliver Van Oekelen reported that patients that were being treated with a CD38 monoclonal antibody treatment regimen (like daratumumab or isatuximab) or patients that were on a BCMA bispecific antibody treatment were at the highest risk of not having antibody responses or T cell responses to the vaccine.
The updates presented at the ASH 2021 meeting included the results from the data collected 12 months after the SARS-CoV-2 RNA vaccination and revealed the following findings:
They also collected data from myeloma patients who received the third shot. After the third shot, they saw that 80-90% of the patients that hadn’t been able to achieve a response to the vaccine were finally able to mount detectable antibodies levels after receiving the third vaccination. Plus, the patients that had detectable antibodies also had a great response to the third dose, and these patients’ antibody levels increased more than 10 fold on average.
But, what about the rest of the patients that still aren’t able to elicit an immune response even after the third shot? Recently there’s been the approval of a prophylactic subcutaneous antibody to help protect patients against COVID-19. More research needs to be done to determine whether this actually protects myeloma patients, but it is important to acknowledge that patients with myeloma are at a high risk of having COVID-19 and this could potentially be an option for protecting them against it.
Learn more from Oliver Van Oekelen, MD, MSc on these study results by watching the video below.
about the author
Patricia is an International Medical Graduate who joined HealthTree in 2020 as part of the Patient Experience team. She helps patients understand and track their lab & genetic test results as well as relevant information from their health history. She loves ballet, traveling, and reading a good science fiction book as often as possible.