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Photoacoustic Imaging of COVID-19 Vaccine Site Inflammation of Autoimmune Disease Patients

Sensors (Basel). 2023 Mar 3;23(5):2789. doi: 10.3390/s23052789.


Based on the observations made in rheumatology clinics, autoimmune disease (AD) patients on immunosuppressive (IS) medications have variable vaccine site inflammation responses, whose study may help predict the long-term efficacy of the vaccine in this at-risk population. However, the quantitative assessment of the inflammation of the vaccine site is technically challenging. In this study analyzing AD patients on IS medications and normal control subjects, we imaged the inflammation of the vaccine site 24 h after mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations were administered using both the emerging photoacoustic imaging (PAI) method and the established Doppler ultrasound (US) method. A total of 15 subjects were involved, including 6 AD patients on IS and 9 normal control subjects, and the results from the two groups were compared. Compared to the results obtained from the control subjects, the AD patients on IS medications showed statistically significant reductions in vaccine site inflammation, indicating that immunosuppressed AD patients also experience local inflammation after mRNA vaccination but not in as clinically apparent of a manner when compared to non-immunosuppressed non-AD individuals. Both PAI and Doppler US were able to detect mRNA COVID-19 vaccine-induced local inflammation. PAI, based on the optical absorption contrast, shows better sensitivity in assessing and quantifying the spatially distributed inflammation in soft tissues at the vaccine site.

PMID:36904999 | DOI:10.3390/s23052789

By Nevin Manimala

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