vaccino covid-19 genere

COVID-19 vaccination: not only previous diseases and age but also sex and lifestyle influence the acquired immune response

A new study, sponsored by Sapienza and Policlinico Umberto I General Hospital, has identified demographic, clinical and social factors that interfere with the immune response following COVID-19 vaccination. The results, published in the Journal of Personalised Medicine, pave the way for customisable vaccination programmes

It is now known that vaccine-induced immunity is crucial for the long-term control of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several variables may affect the ability of individuals to acquire this immunity.

A new Italian research project, promoted by Sapienza and Policlinico Umberto I General Hospital and coordinated by Stefania Basili of the Department of Translational and Precision Medicine of Sapienza, has identified a correlation between the immune response acquired after the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine and a number of demographic, clinical and social variables, including age, sex, previous diseases, smoking habits and marital status.

The study, published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine, is a collaboration between the university departments of Sapienza and Policlinico Umberto I General Hospital, also involving health professionals from the university hospital.

A sample of 2065 healthcare workers at the Policlinico Umberto I, who had been administered Pfizer BioNTech's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, underwent two blood samples, one month and five months after the second vaccination.

'All the subjects involved,' says Stefania Basili, study coordinator, 'were given a questionnaire to collect personal information and a quantitative serological test was performed to detect anti-S-protein (Spike) antibodies to the Sars-CoV2 virus, the best tool to assess acquired immunity following vaccination or infection".

The results showed that one month after vaccination, subjects with a previous COVID-19 infection and younger subjects had higher antibody levels than the other persons in the sample considered. In contrast, autoimmune diseases, chronic lung disease and smoking correlated with the lowest levels of antibody response.

A median decrease of 72% in antibody levels was observed five months after vaccination, but this was less pronounced in women and subjects with previous infection. In contrast, a dramatic 82% drop in anti-Spike antibody levels was observed in smokers, hypertensives, and older people.

Among the authors, there is also the Rector of Sapienza University, Antonella Polimeni, who states, 'the study highlights how the pursuit of health, even in the face of pandemic situations, underlies a more general principle of social well-being. Lifestyle factors play a relevant role in the immune response, and the first cure is to raise the health culture and quality of life standards'.

The researchers also revealed greater maintenance of the antibody response in single or cohabiting subjects than in married, divorced or widowed subjects. However, this association could be due to other unexplored clinical variables, such as dietary style and body mass index.

"The results of this work, which once again highlight the importance of lifestyles," says Fabrizio d'Alba, General Director of Policlinico Umberto I, "make us ever more confident in the validity of the path undertaken by Sapienza and Umberto I. A common path in a synergistic exchange perspective that will strengthen our scientific community'.

The study, says Domenico Alvaro, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, shows how much Umberto I and Sapienza can achieve together, particularly in research areas so relevant to public health. In addition, the broad participation of healthcare personnel demonstrates the sense of responsibility to reach results that, also for COVID-19, represent a further incentive to pursue healthy lifestyles.

"Although our study confirmed many already known correlations, it also took into account for the first time," concludes Stefania Basili, "many factors including level of education, type of work, marital status and family involvement burden. Beyond the results, our hope is that our analysis will stimulate further research to investigate the effects of sex and lifestyle variables on the immune response, leading to the emergence of personalised and precision medicine'.



Serological Response and Relationship with Gender-Sensitive Variables among Healthcare Workers after SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination - Roberto Cangemi, Manuela Di Franco, Antonio Angeloni, Alessandra Zicari, Vincenzo Cardinale, Marcella Visentini, Guido Antonelli, Anna Napoli, Emanuela Anastasi, Giulio Francesco Romiti, Fabrizio d’Alba, Domenico Alvaro, Antonella Polimeni, Stefania Basili, SAPIENZAVAX Collaborators - Journal of Personalized Medicine (2022)


Further Information

Stefania Basili
Department of Translational and Precision Medicine

Friday, 08 July 2022

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