WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) — After standard COVID-19 vaccination, many kidney transplant recipients are not adequately protected against emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Louise Benning, M.D., from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and colleagues measured antispike 1 immunoglobulin (Ig)G and surrogate neutralizing antibodies in 173 kidney transplant recipients and 166 healthy controls with different vaccination schedules in a prospective two-center study. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 epitope antibodies were compared from 135 vaccinated kidney transplant recipients and 25 healthy controls after second vaccination. Neutralization against B.1.1.7 (α), B.1.351 (β), and B.1.617.2 (δ) was determined on VeroE6 cells in 36 kidney transplant recipients with seroconversion and 25 healthy controls.

The researchers found that compared with healthy controls, kidney transplant recipients had significantly lower seroconversion rates. After the second vaccination, 30, 27, and 24 percent of kidney transplant recipients, respectively, had detectable antispike 1, anti-receptor-binding domain, and surrogate neutralizing antibodies, compared with 100, 96, and 100 percent, respectively, among healthy controls. All kidney transplant recipients with seroconversion had detectable neutralization against B.1.1.7; only 64 and 67 percent of kidney transplant recipients showed neutralization against B.1.351 and B.1.617.2, respectively. Healthy controls had significantly higher neutralization against different variants, with neutralization shown against all tested variants.

“This study shows that a large proportion of kidney transplant recipients may not be adequately protected against the emerging variants B.1.351 (β) and B.1.617.2 (δ) with the standard vaccination regimens currently used in the healthy general population,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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