COVID-19 and HIV – how antibody responses are affected


In a recent study, researchers looked at how patient traits and COVID-19 infection may impact HIV-positive individuals’ antibody responses, which include reactions to SARS-CoV-2 proteins as well as those to other viral proteins like cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) proteins. (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Graphical abstract.

The study used data from the global REPRIEVE, a significant ongoing cardiovascular prevention trial examining the effects of statins in HIV-positive patients receiving antiretroviral therapy.

The total study showed that higher CMV and EBV antibody responses were linked to COVID-19 infection. Higher BMI was linked to an amplified SARS-CoV-2 response in COVID-positive individuals, while lower nadir CD4+ T-cell count (a person’s lowest CD4+ T-cell count) was linked to an ineffective or weakly functional antibody response to SARS-CoV-2.

This research may offer fresh molecular perspectives on the immediate and long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Journal article: Schnittman, S.R., et al., 2023. Effect of host factors and COVID-19 infection on the humoral immune repertoire in treated HIV. JCI Insight.

Summary by Stefan Botha

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation