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One of the studies that will be presented at the 2021 ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition is a retrospective study, published in Blood, on the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in adult patients with lymphomas undergoing immunochemotherapy.

Data were gathered from adult patients with lymphomas identified to have received the COVID-19 vaccine, either two doses of the mRNA vaccines or one dose of the adenovirus vaccine, between December 2020 and April 2021. A total of 137 patients were included in the study. The cohort was grouped by disease type and comorbidities. The primary endpoint was a positive anti-COVID spike protein antibody titer after two doses of the COVID mRNA vaccines or one dose of the COVID adenovirus vaccine.

The researchers found a majority (67.2%) of patients developed anti-COVID spike protein antibodies after receiving a vaccine. They also reported that 52% of patients who underwent anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody-containing treatment the year before vaccination produced the necessary antibodies after vaccination.

In comparison, 72% of patients developed antibodies if they received anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody treatment more than a year before vaccination. The study also uncovered stark differences in the ability to produce serology towards the COVID vaccine amongst lymphoma subtypes, namely, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)/T-cell lymphomas (TCL).

The researchers concluded that patients with HL/TCL demonstrated a positive antibody response to the COVID mRNA vaccines, even when receiving immunochemotherapy within half a year of being vaccinated. Moreover, anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody therapy within the past year may affect the ability to produce serology towards a COVID vaccine.

A call to action is made for further research to confirm these findings and examine T-cell immunity and its clinical relevance for adult patients with lymphomas [1].

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[1] della Pia, A., Kim, G. Y., Ahn, J., Liu, Y., Lukasik, B., Contractor, A., Krushna, A., Ayyagari, L., Koropsak, M., Leslie, L. A., Goy, A. H., Feldman, T. A., & Ip, A. (2021). Production of anti-spike antibodies in response to COVID vaccine in lymphoma patients. Blood, 138(Supplement 1), 1347. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2021-151367