Recent studies have concluded that both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines create a strong enough antibody response in people living with HIV and similar antibody and immune responses to those living without HIV.
While those with HIV have been prioritized by several countries, there were questions around how the immunosuppression from HIV could affect vaccine response, according to Aidsmap.
The vaccines studied in these research projects were created based on messenger RNA, which is the type of vaccine that injects messenger RNA into muscle cells. Those cells in turn create the immune response to fight off COVID-19.
In the two projects, both from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, one explored the evolution of antibody responses after each of the two doses that each vaccine requires. The antibody responses found in those living with HIV were like the responses found in those without HIV. Moreover, as Aidsmap reports, those with the doses of vaccine and who were living with HIV fared better than other immunocompromised people or some cancer patients.
Participants noted soreness at the injection site and more than 60 percent of individuals felt fatigued after the vaccinations.
The other Johns Hopkins group of researchers investigated antibody and cellular immune responses. Researchers have found that antibodies and cellular immune responses both become critical in preventing serious illness.
In the comparative study, researchers examined antibody and cellular immune responses in 12 people living with HIV and 17 people who were not between seven and 17 days after having taken the second Pfizer vaccination dose.
Researchers found those with HIV didn’t have a substantially lower antibody count — including antibodies to the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants of COVID-19, reported Aidsmap. The researchers did not examine the antibodies' response to the Delta variant. There was also no real difference in the cellular immune response.
Scientists concluded that more research needs to be done on vaccine responses in those with various CD4 counts to see what changes CD4 cells account for in responses.