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5 May 2021, 10:38

AstraZeneca vaccine just as effective in people living with HIV say two studies

AstraZeneca vaccine just as effective in people living with HIV say two studies - picture 1

The findings of two, yet to be peer-reviewed, studies have shown that the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine produced similar immune responses in people living with HIV to those who were HIV negative.

The studies also showed that people living with HIV did not experience more, or worse, side effects compared to their HIV negative counterparts.

The two studies were carried out in London and South Africa.

In London, 54 people living with HIV were recruited and subsequently received the vaccine, results were compared with a 50 person HIV-negative control group drawn from an existing larger study.

The participants were aged 18-55, had a viral load under 50 copies and a CD4 count above 350, and shouldn’t have had COVID-19 prior to joining the study (confirmed via antibody testing).

The two doses were given four to six weeks apart, in accordance with guidance at the time, and blood samples taken on day 14, 28, 42 and 56. The testing showed no differences in antibody or immune responses between the participants living with HIV and the control group.

“The measured immunological responses are similar to those seen in HIV negative participants for whom there is increasing evidence that vaccination leads to a reduction in symptomatic cases and hospitalisations,” the authors conclude

In South Africa, 104 people living with HIV were recruited to the study, these participants were accessing anti-retroviral therapy and had viral loads below 1000 copies. A control group of 70 HIV-negative participants was also recruited.

The study found no differences in antibody response between participants living with HIV and the HIV-negative control group at 28 and 42 days after first dose.

The study’s researchers have said that more research is needed into the efficacy of vaccines in those who have low CD4 counts, and across Africa.

Author: Tom Hayes

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