Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 26;12(1):17955. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22839-0.
Progress has been made in COVID-19 vaccine development, with encouraging safety and efficacy data. The purpose of this study was to investigate the immunogenicity of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine in patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIIRD). Patients with AIIRD (n = 101) were included in this study. All patients received 2 doses of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine. Serum anti-S1/RBD protein IgG was detected 2-16 weeks after the second vaccination. Seropositivity was defined as IgG ≥ 1.00 bound antibody unit S/CO. Immunogenicity of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine was assessed by seropositivity rate and the levels of serum IgG antibody against anti-S1/RBD protein, compared with the general population (n = 46). There was no difference by statistical significance in the seropositivity rate between patients with AIIRD (82.2%) and SLE (86.1%) and the control group (93.5%), p > 0.05. The level of anti-S1/RBD protein IgG antibodies in patients with AIIRD (median [IQR], 8.8 [2.2-17.3]) and SLE (median [IQR], 9.6 [2.4-20.4]) was comparable to that in the control group (median [IQR], 7.2 [3.1-14.2]), p > 0.05. Patients treated with glucocorticoids(GCs) (median dose, [IQR]: 2.5 mg/day [IQR 2.5-5.0]) or hydroxychloroquine(HCQ) or GCs + HCQ without other immunomodulatory medications, had an appropriate immunogenic response(88.1%) with high levels of anti-S1/RBD protein IgG(median [IQR], 12.1 [6.5-20.4]). Neither of patients treated with rituximab had positive serum antibodies, which was statistically significant, compared with the control group (p < 0.01). Compared with the control group, methotrexate(MTX) and iguratimod(IGU) was significantly reduced the level of anti-S1/RBD protein IgG antibodies. Inactivated COVID-19 vaccine had appropriate immunogenicity in patients with AIIRD. Immunogenicity of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine was severely impaired by rituximab, and also suppressed by MTX and IGU, while low doses of GC and HCQ had negligible effect.