One of the known risk factors for COVID-19 infection is obesity. Recently a study has revealed that severely obese people may have a significantly weaker immune response to coronavirus vaccination as compared to those the people who have normal weight. Obesity is a disease that is complicating the course of coronavirus and SARS-CoV-2 vaccine antibody response in adults with obesity may be conceded.
The researchers from Istanbul University in Turkey said that vaccines for influenza, hepatitis B and rabies have also shown decreased responses in people with obesity. The findings presented at the year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) being held in the Netherlands also found that people with severe obesity (BMI of more than 40kg/m2) vaccinated with Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine generated meaningfully more antibodies than those vaccinated with China’s CoronaVac (inactivated SARS-CoV-2) vaccine.
According to the researchers, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may be a better option for this vulnerable population.
To learn more, researchers studied antibody responses following Pfizer/BioNTech and CoronaVac vaccination in 124 adults with severe obesity (average age 42-63 years) between August and November 2021.
They also recruited 166 normal-weight adults (BMI less than 25kg/m2, average age 39-47 years) as a control group.
Overall, 130 participants received two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and 160 participants received two doses of CoronaVac, with 70 having previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Patients with severe obesity who had not previously been infected with Covid and had been vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech had antibody levels that were more than three times lower than normal-weight controls.
Similarly, patients with severe obesity had antibody levels 27 times lower than normal weight controls in participants with no prior Covid infection and were vaccinated with CoronaVac.
Interestingly, in patients with severe obesity, both with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, antibody levels in those vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech were significantly higher than in those vaccinated with CoronaVac.
“These results provide new information on the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in people with severe obesity and reinforce the importance of prioritising and increasing vaccine uptake in this vulnerable group,” said Professor Volkan Demirhan Yumuk from the varsity.
“Our study confirms that immune memory induced by prior infection alters the way in which people respond to vaccination and indicates that two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may generate significantly more antibodies than CoronaVac in people with severe obesity, regardless of infection history,” Yumuk added.
However, he pressed the need for further research to determine whether these higher antibody levels provide greater protection against Covid-19.