Transient Autoreactive PF4 and Antiphospholipid Antibodies in COVID-19 Vaccine Recipients

Amsterdam UMC COVID-19 S3/HCW Study Group

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Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is a rare autoimmune condition associated with recombinant adenovirus (rAV)-based COVID-19 vaccines. It is thought to arise from autoantibodies targeting platelet factor 4 (aPF4), triggered by vaccine-induced inflammation and the formation of neo-antigenic complexes between PF4 and the rAV vector. To investigate the specific induction of aPF4 by rAV-based vaccines, we examined sera from rAV vaccine recipients (AZD1222, AD26.COV2.S) and messenger RNA (mRNA) based (mRNA-1273, BNT162b2) COVID-19 vaccine recipients. We compared the antibody fold change (FC) for aPF4 and for antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) of rAV to mRNA vaccine recipients. We combined two biobanks of Dutch healthcare workers and matched rAV-vaccinated individuals to mRNA-vaccinated controls, based on age, sex and prior history of COVID-19 (AZD1222: 37, Ad26.COV2.S: 35, mRNA-1273: 47, BNT162b2: 26). We found no significant differences in aPF4 FCs after the first (0.99 vs. 1.08, mean difference (MD) = −0.11 (95% CI −0.23 to 0.057)) and second doses of AZD1222 (0.99 vs. 1.10, MD = −0.11 (95% CI −0.31 to 0.10)) and after a single dose of Ad26.COV2.S compared to mRNA-based vaccines (1.01 vs. 0.99, MD = 0.026 (95% CI −0.13 to 0.18)). The mean FCs for the aPL in rAV-based vaccine recipients were similar to those in mRNA-based vaccines. No correlation was observed between post-vaccination aPF4 levels and vaccine type (mean aPF difference −0.070 (95% CI −0.14 to 0.002) mRNA vs. rAV). In summary, our study indicates that rAV and mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines do not substantially elevate aPF4 levels in healthy individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1851
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2023

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