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With Holidays Ahead, COVID Boosters a Must for People With Weak Immune Systems

If you're a patient with a weakened immune system, roll up your sleeves to stay safe over the holidays and winter months.

"Immunocompromised patients absolutely should get a flu shot as well as an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose," said Dr. Marwa Kaisey, a neuroimmunologist and assistant professor of neurology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

"Otherwise, they are more likely to hav...

People on Immune-Suppressing Meds Fare Equally Well With Severe COVID

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who take medications that suppress the immune system don't have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 than those with normal immune systems, a new study finds.

Early in the pandemic, it was feared that people taking immunosuppressive drugs were at increased risk of severe COVID-19 due to their weakened immune systems. The drugs are used to treat cancer and autoim...

COVID Booster Shot Helps Cancer Patients

A COVID-19 vaccine booster shot gives cancer patients -- especially those with blood cancer -- much-needed protection, new research reports.

"Our study demonstrates in clear terms how the booster shot can make all the difference for some people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer," study co-author Dr. Balazs Halmos said in a news release from Montefiore Health Syst...

COVID Vaccine Spurs Good Response in People With Crohn's, Colitis

Here's some comforting news for people who struggle with inflammatory bowel disease and worry that the immune-suppressing drugs they must take might blunt their response to COVID-19 vaccines: New research finds vaccination triggers a strong immune reaction in these patients.

"At eight weeks, following completion of a two-dose mRNA vaccine series, 99% of patients had detectable antibodies ...

More Evidence COVID Shots Less Effective for People With Weak Immune Systems

Transplant patients and certain other folks may need four shots of COVID-19 vaccine for optimal protection, new research suggests.

People with weakened immune systems who've received both doses of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines aren't adequately protected against severe illness. They should be given a third shot plus a booster, according to the study.

"These findings indicate that while...

Immunocompromised May Need Fourth COVID Shot: CDC

Severely immunocompromised people may require a fourth mRNA coronavirus shot, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The agency didn't provide an official recommendation about a fourth shot in its updated guidelines, but did say that people should talk to their doctors to determine if one is necessary, CNN reported.

In August, the CDC authorized a third d...

Ten Years On, Gene Therapy Still Beating Most Cases of 'Bubble Boy' Immune Disease

Nine of 10 patients with so-called "bubble boy" immune disease who received gene therapy about a decade ago are still disease-free, researchers report.

The gene therapy was developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to treat the rare and deadly immune system disorder formally known as adenosine deaminase--deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID).

It'...

Study Spots People at High Risk of Severe Breakthrough COVID

A study of millions of people vaccinated against COVID-19 has identified those at greatest risk of hospitalization and death after breakthrough infection.

The most vulnerable are those who are immunosuppressed from chemotherapy, a recent bone marrow or solid organ transplant, or HIV/AIDS. Also at risk are people with neurological disorders (such as dementia and Parkinson's disease), nur...

Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death Rises in People With HIV

People with HIV have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, a new study warns, especially if the virus isn't well-controlled.

Sudden cardiac death occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating, usually due to an abrupt electrical malfunction.

"People living with HIV are already known to have a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, blood clots in the lungs and pe...

Which Cancer Patients Need a COVID Booster Shot Most?

An alliance of leading U.S. cancer centers has updated guidance about COVID-19 vaccine boosters for cancer patients and the people around them.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network's new recommendations are intended for health care providers.

"COVID-19 can be very dangerous, especially for people living with cancer, which is why we're so grateful for safe and effective vaccines...

COVID-19 Vaccines Boost Antibodies, Even in People With Weak Immune Systems

COVID-19 vaccines trigger antibody production in most people who have weakened immune systems, but a new study reveals that their responses are weaker than in healthy people.

"Some of our patients have been hesitant about getting vaccinated, which is unfortunate because they are at increased risk of having more severe cases of COVID-19 if they happen to get infected, compared to those not...

FDA OKs Third COVID Shot for Vulnerable Americans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized a third "booster" shot of coronavirus vaccines for people with weakened immune systems, as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to surge across the country.

Expanding the emergency use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should help protect those patients who are considered most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. The auth...

FDA to OK COVID Booster Shots for Vulnerable Americans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans on Thursday to authorize a third "booster" shot of coronavirus vaccine for people with weakened immune systems, as the highly contagious Delta variant surges across the country.

Expanding the emergency use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should help protect those patients who are considered most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and most likel...

Third Vaccine Dose Can Help Shield Transplant Patients From COVID

A third dose of a two-shot COVID vaccine significantly boosts transplant patients' protection against SARS-CoV-2, according to a new study.

"We knew from previous studies that two doses were not enough to produce a good immune response against COVID-19 in transplant patients," said study co-senior author Dr. Deepali Kumar. She is director of transplant infectious diseases at the Universit...

CAR T-Cell Immunotherapy Rids Woman of Tough-to-Treat Lupus

In a first, researchers have used genetically tweaked immune system cells to send a woman's severe lupus into remission.

The treatment -- called CAR T-cell therapy -- is already approved in the United States for fighting certain cases of blood cancer. It involves removing a patient's own immune system T-cells, genetically altering them to target the cancer, then infusing them back into th...

CDC Advisors to Discuss 3rd COVID Vaccine Dose for Immunocompromised

Giving a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines to adults with weakened immune systems -- the immunocompromised -- will be up for discussion during a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel meeting next week.

At the meeting scheduled for July 22, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will focus on the 2% to 4% of U.S. adults with weakened immune systems. These i...

Heart Troubles Ease Over Time in Kids With MIS-C

Here's some reassuring news for parents: Most heart problems in children with a rare inflammatory condition triggered by COVID-19 infection resolve within a few months, a new study finds.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) causes inflammation throughout the body, and many patients develop a range of non-respiratory symptoms such as abdominal pain, skin rashes, heart abn...

Immunocompromised? Why the COVID-19 Vaccine Might Still Protect You

COVID-19 vaccinations may not offer as much protection to people with compromised immune systems, but just how much appears to be driven by the type of underlying condition, new research suggests.

"People with conditions that compromise their immune systems exhibit a wide spectrum of antibody responses to COVID-19 vaccination, ranging from only 1 in 5 lung transplant patients having an a...

New Drug Shows Real Promise Against Celiac Disease

An experimental drug can prevent intestinal damage caused by celiac disease, an early trial has found -- raising hopes that it could become the first medication for the serious digestive disorder.

With celiac disease, the immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine when a genetically susceptible person eats gluten -- a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

The symptoms...

Some Myeloma Patients Get No Protection From COVID-19 Vaccines

Because they're often given drugs that suppress their immune systems, people battling a blood cancer known as multiple myeloma have varying responses to the COVID-19 vaccine, new research shows.

Some patients had no evidence at all of COVID-fighting antibody production after getting two doses of vaccine, the new study found.

In a minority of cases, fully vaccinated myeloma patients ...

First Signs of MS May Often Go Undiagnosed

Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis may commonly be missed for years before the right diagnosis is made, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that patients with MS had a higher-than-average number of medical appointments, with doctors of various specialties, for up to five years before their diagnosis.

And for the most part, those visits were for neurological symptoms consistent...

C-Section Babies Miss Out on Mom's 'Microbiome,' But Treatment Can Change That

When a baby is born, the mother's body provides a pathway into the world, but the journey also exposes them to beneficial bacteria that live in and on their mom. But that critical exchange doesn't happen during a cesarean section delivery.

Now, researchers report that swabbing babies delivered via C-section with gauze that has been seeded with their mother's vaginal fluids delivers the sa...

'MIND' Diet Can Help Preserve Brain in People With MS

A diet designed to boost brain health appears to benefit people with multiple sclerosis (MS), new research suggests.

For the study, a team from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City examined 185 people diagnosed with MS within the past five years. Each had MRI brain scans and responded to detailed questionnaires.

The upshot: Those who ate more of the "good" foods ...

Third Dose of COVID Vaccine Boosts Protection in Transplant Recipients

Researchers say an extra dose of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines may improve immune system protection for organ transplant patients, a group that's so far responded poorly to two-dose vaccines.

"Our findings suggest clinical trials are warranted to determine if transplant recipients should receive COVID-19 vaccine booster doses as standard clinical practice, similar to what is currently done w...

What Diet Is Most Likely to Help Ease Crohn's Disease?

People who have Crohn's disease often seek to ease their symptoms by changing what they eat, and new research suggests the Mediterranean diet may be their best bet.

The study evaluated one of the commonly used diets for Crohn's disease, known as the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), comparing it with the Mediterranean diet, which is sometimes recommended by doctors for its heart health be...

'Breakthrough' COVID Infections May Be Common in Vaccinated Transplant Patients

New research suggests that many people who've undergone an organ transplant do not get an immune response from COVID-19 vaccines that's strong enough to ward off a "breakthrough" infection.

In a new review of 14 such cases, these breakthrough COVID-19 infections occurred in 10 recipients of new kidneys, two liver recipients, one lung recipient and one heart recipient, said a research team...

Experimental Treatment Offers New Hope Against Lupus

An experimental antibody therapy may help ease skin symptoms from the autoimmune disease lupus, a small preliminary trial suggests.

Researchers found that a higher-dose version of the drug spurred a "clinically meaningful" symptom improvement for 87% of patients after one month.

But they also stressed that the findings are based on a small "phase 1" trial - a type of study designed ...

Common Immune Drug Methotrexate May Hamper Response to COVID-19 Vaccine

A widely used medicine for autoimmune diseases may lower people's immune response to the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, a new study suggests.

The drug, called methotrexate, is often given to patients with immune-mediated inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis.

"Our findings suggest that different strategies may need to be explored in pa...

Drug Could Be Promising New Option Against Eczema

A pill called upadacitinib, already approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis, might also ease another common immunological condition -- eczema.

In two phase 3 clinical trials, patients with moderate to severe eczema showed rapid and significant improvements after taking the drug, said researchers at Mount Sinai in New York City.

The clinical trials were funded by the dug's maker,...

Many Americans Take Meds That Weaken COVID Vaccine Response

A small but significant percentage of Americans take medications that can hamper their immune system and its response to COVID-19 vaccines, researchers say.

Their analysis of data from more than 3 million adults under 65 with private insurance found that nearly 3% take immunosuppressive drugs. Those include chemotherapy medications and steroids such as prednisone.

Two-thirds took an...

Clues to Rare Disorder Affecting Kids With COVID-19

New insight into a rare and dangerous disorder that can occur in kids with COVID-19 could improve treatment of the condition, researchers say.

Many children infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) go undiagnosed or have no symptoms, but about one in 1,000 develop a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) within four to six weeks.

Symp...

Gene Therapy Uses HIV to Rescue Kids Born Without Immune System

Cora Oakley is a rough-and-tumble 4-year-old who loves gymnastics and outdoor activities, particularly if it involves bouncing on a trampoline.

It's hard to tell from looking at her that she was born without an immune system. Kids with this condition can acquire dangerous, life-threatening infections from day-to-day activities as simple as going to school or playing with friends.

"I...

Young, Immune-Compromised Patients Are Hotspots for Coronavirus Mutations: Study

COVID-19 infections may last longer in young people with weakened immune systems, and that extended period could lead to more mutations in SARS-CoV-2, according to the authors of a new case study.

The study included two children and a young adult who had weakened immune systems due to treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For months, they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus th...

New Drug May Be Better Psoriasis Treatment

A breakthrough psoriasis drug is better at treating the itchy and painful skin disease than medicines already on the market, according to results from two clinical trials.

There was a "night and day difference" in the results from bimekizumab compared against two established psoriasis drugs, secukinumab (Cosentyx) and adalimumab (Humira), said Dr. Mark Lebwohl, a co-researcher in one of t...

No Proof COVID Vaccines Can Trigger Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Two people in the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trial developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, but it's highly doubtful the vaccine is to blame, according to a just-published case study.

Although both people were in the same trial, one was given the vaccine and the other was given a placebo of saline solution.

"That strengthens the possibility that the case in our report may have be...

Lupus More Deadly for Asian and Hispanic Americans: Study

More Asian and Hispanic people with lupus die prematurely than white patients, a new study reveals.

Death rates in San Francisco were nearly six times higher than expected among Hispanic patients with lupus and four times higher than expected among Asian women with lupus, the researchers found.

The higher death rate among racial and ethnic minority groups might result from more seve...

Gene Study Probes Origins of Addison's Disease

Gene variants associated with a rare autoimmune disorder called Addison's disease have been pinpointed, according to researchers.

"By studying the single largest collection of samples from patients with Addison's disease, we've been able to carry out the first genetic study of the disease that spans the entire human genome," said study co-leader Daniel Eriksson, a researcher in the experi...

COVID Vaccines Safe for Organ Transplant Recipients: Study

Here's some good news for people who've had solid organ transplants and have weakened immune systems: mRNA coronavirus vaccines are safe for these vulnerable folks, new research shows.

The study included 187 transplant recipients who received an initial dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines between Dec. 16, 2020 and Jan. 16, 2021.

The participants, median age 48, were r...

Could Stem Cell Therapy Be a Breakthrough Against MS?

Stem cell transplants may have long-lasting benefits for some people with aggressive cases of multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

Italian researchers found that among 210 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who received a stem cell transplant -- with cells from their own blood -- two-thirds saw no worsening in their disability 10 years out.

That included 71% of patients with rela...

More Than 200,000 Americans Have Lupus

Just over 200,000 Americans have the autoimmune disorder lupus, and minority women are at highest risk, according to a new study.

It's the first estimate of how widespread the disease is in the United States. The number comes close to reclassifying lupus as a rare disease, defined as an illness affecting 200,000 Americans or fewer, the researchers said.

"Our study potentially redefi...

Scans Reveal How COVID-19 Can Harm the Brain

Blood vessel damage and inflammation in the brains of deceased COVID-19 patients suggest the damage is not caused by the virus, but the body's immune response to it.

Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) consistently found signs of damage caused by thinning and leaky brain blood vessels in tissue samples from patients who died shortly after getting COVID-19.

...

Treatment Reverses Young Man's Type 1 Diabetes. Will It Last?

After starting a drug that's officially approved to treat a type of blood cancer, a young man with type 1 diabetes was able to stop using insulin.

He's been off insulin since August 2018 -- more than two years.

Dr. Lisa Forbes -- his doctor and co-author of a letter describing his case in the Oct. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine -- stopped short of calling ...

Body Temperature Higher in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis patients who are in remission have significantly higher body temperatures than people without the joint disease, new research shows.

The study included 32 rheumatoid arthritis patients who were in remission and a healthy "control" group of 51 people without rheumatoid arthritis, who all had thermal scans of different areas of their feet.

"These tests demonstrate...

Scientists Report First Case of Recurring Guillain-Barre Tied to COVID

The first known case of COVID-19 triggering a recurrence of Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported by researchers.

Guillain-Barré syndrome -- which can be sparked by viral and bacterial infections -- is a rare disorder where the body's immune system attacks nerves. It can result in respiratory failure and death.

There have been several reports of COVID-19 patients developing Gu...

Dangerous COVID-19 Syndrome First Seen in Kids Also Strikes Adults

When the new coronavirus pandemic first began, respiratory distress immediately became the hallmark of severe COVID-19 illness. News reports focused on the inability to breathe, low oxygen saturation levels and the alarming need for ventilators.

But six months later, experts are becoming increasingly concerned about a very different COVID-19 phenomenon, one that spares the lungs only ...

Pancreas Cells That Drive Type 1 Diabetes Appear in Healthy People, Too

Scientists knew that dangerous T-cells lived in the pancreases of people with type 1 diabetes, but a new study shows they also take up residence in the pancreases of healthy individuals.

Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California used a new staining technique to show where these cells had gathered in human tissue samples. They were surprised that even tissue ...

Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug May Help Ease Tough-to-Treat Cases

A recently approved rheumatoid arthritis medication appears to be an effective second-line therapy when biologic treatments start to fail, a new clinical trial reports.

Arthritis sufferers treated with upadacitinib had a significantly greater reduction in their symptoms and disease activity than people treated with a standard disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), said co-resea...

Treatment Reverses Young Man's Type 1 Diabetes. Will It Last?

After starting a drug that's officially approved to treat a type of blood cancer, a young man with type 1 diabetes was able to stop using insulin.

He's been off insulin since August 2018 -- more than two years.

Dr. Lisa Forbes -- his doctor and co-author of a letter describing his case in the Oct. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine -- stopped short of cal...

Mental Health Issues Double the Odds of Dying With COVID-19, Study Finds

People suffering from a psychiatric disorder could be more than twice as likely to die if they become infected with COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Folks diagnosed with any type of psychiatric problem -- anxiety or depression, dementia, psychosis -- were up to 2.3 times more likely to die in the hospital from COVID-19, researchers found.

"Those who had COVID who had a prior ...

Study Sheds Light on Why COVID-19 Hits Elderly Hardest

Elderly people who get COVID-19 have lower levels of important immune cells, which may explain why they are more likely than younger patients to have severe symptoms or die, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers analyzed blood samples from 30 people with mild COVID-19, ranging in age from the mid-20s to late-90s. Compared with healthy people, all of the COVID-19 patien...