According to PAHO, those people who today live with underlying conditions, transplant patients, immunosuppressed and cancer patients, have a higher risk of serious illness and are more likely to die from Covid-19.
Older adult being vaccinated in Bogotá, Colombia. Photo: ShutterStock.
In March, it will be two years living with the pandemic generated by Covid-19 and in the world the primary task continues to be the mass immunization of the population.
Currently, according to WHO data, 63% of people from Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated.
In the case of Colombia, 80% of the population have received at least one dose and 64% already have the complete vaccination schedule.
Still, the risk of keeping the population immunized is a challenge with the new variants and the increase in the need for booster shots additional.
In the midst of the health emergency, people prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have been people the elderly and patients with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension.
But what about the population that does not respond effectively to vaccination?
People Immunocompromised people have a condition that reduces their ability to fight infections and other illnesses because their immune systems don’t work as well as they should.
This may be due to diseases such as cancer, dialysis patients, HIV/AIDS, immunosuppressive drug treatments performed for the organ transplant or disease autoimmune.
In the United States alone, about 2.8% of the population is immunosuppressed, so it can be assumed that the percentage is similar in countries of the region.
At present, we know that people with a high degree of immunosuppression they are more susceptible to not responding effectively to the Covid-19 vaccine, so they are less protected against possible contagion and are more likely to have complications or serious infections related to the disease.
Certain treatments and medical conditions prevent the immune system from mounting an adequate antibody response to vaccines, but immunization against the coronavirus remains essential for this population.
It is estimated that 2% of the population The global community may remain vulnerable to COVID-19 because they have not yet formed an adequate response to the vaccine, and are at risk of unfavorable disease if they become infected with the virus.
Therefore, there are complementary options to the vaccination for the vulnerable population.
An example of this is monoclonal antibodies, which are laboratory-produced molecules that act as surrogate antibodies and can restore, enhance, or mimic the immune system’s attack on cells.
These antibodies neutralize and prevent the Covid-19 virus from attaching to human cells, weakening its ability to make patients seriously ill.
According to Diana Hernández, medical director of AstraZeneca, “Passive immunization represents new hope for those patients who, despite vaccination, continue to be at risk.
These new treatments work by providing immediate immunity, unlike the vaccine, which takes much longer to take effect, so their application to immunosuppressed patients is a great opportunity.”
Around the world, entities such as the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) have approved different passive immunization options, focused on being able to provide an option to immunocompromised people, who have not been recently infected or exposed to SARS-CoV-2.