According to a study published in the journal Cancer Cell, more than 90% of cancer patients have responded well after taking the second dose of COVID mRNA vaccine. Among 134 cancer patients, 94 have developed antibodies against COVID and the rest could not due to the high risk of cancer. The patients developed a good immune system after three to four weeks of receiving a second COVID jab.
"We could not find any antibodies against the virus in those patients", said Dimpy P. Shah, MD, PhD of the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT health San Anotnio MD Anderson.
"That has implications for the future. Should we provide a third dose of vaccine after cancer therapy has completed in certain high-risk patients?", said Dr Shah.
(Dr Shah is the corresponding author of the study and Co authors are from Mays Cancer Center and University of Geneva)
According to the study, there has been a Rituximab therapy for high-risk cancer patients, till scientists develop a COVID vaccine for cancer patients. The therapy is a monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of hematological cancers and autoimmune diseases which has been given within the six months of vaccination if developed no antibodies. In this study, certain blood cells are being attached to the patient's immune system and kill the infection. Scientists are yet to examine the response of T-cells and B-cells(infection-fighting cells) in cancer patients. Only 2% of patients were black from a total of 134 patients.
"We recommend that future studies be done in Black, Asian and Hispanic patients, as well, to see if there are any differences in vaccination immune response", said Dr Mesa.
In countries where there is lack of vaccination, there is talk that one dose might confer adequate protections, but this may not be true in the case of patients with cancer", said Dr Shah.
We observed a significant difference in response when two doses were given. At least for patients with cancer, two doses are very important for robust antibody response", Dr Shah futher added.
Researchers are still trying to examine that how long COVID vaccine mRNA can protect cancer patients. For cancer patients who have already received both the vaccine doses, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has guidelines on what precautions can they take after getting the jabs. But one may need to consult his doctor before following the guidelines if he has a weak immune system.