Assuta Hospital in Ashdod has published a new groundbreaking research showing that the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine increases by 40 times the number of antibodies found in immunocompromised patients.
Recent research from around the world has shown a drop in the number of antibodies starting a few months after the second dose, alongside an extreme and encouraging rise following the administration of a booster dose in the general population.
The Assuta research shows that this data holds true for those who are immunocompromised as well.
Prof. Adi Leiba, an internal medicine, nephrology, and blood pressure expert in Israel and in MA, USA, who also serves as Deputy Director General of Assuta Ashdod and is one of the lead researchers for the groundbreaking study, said, "The data shows that receiving two doses of the vaccine is not enough, while the third dose is essentially a game changer, not just for the general population but also for those who are chronically ill."
Dr. Tal Brosh, Head of Infectious Disease Unit at Assuta Ashdod, said, "This research proves that the administration of a booster dose to patients who are severely chronically ill may provide good protection from illness from Omicron."
The research, led by Prof. Leiba, Dr. Brosh, and Dr. Avital Angel Korman, who runs the hospital's dialysis unit, examined 61 dialysis patients, whose antibody levels were evaluated following the second dose of the vaccine, and later following the third dose.
The results showed clearly and dramatically the necessity of a third vaccine, in light of the low antibody levels just months after the second dose.
Among the test group of dialysis patients, who are immunocompromised, the average level of antibodies six months after the second dose of the vaccine was just 40 units. Following the administration of a third, booster, dose, the antibody level rose 37 times, reaching an average of 1,470 units.
In the control group comprised of healthy people, a drastic rise in protection was also seen: In that group, six months after the second dose of the vaccine, the antibody level was just 132 units. After the administration of a booster (third) dose, the level of antibodies jumped to 1,945 units.
Prof. Leiba added: "The importance of this research is mostly in two conclusions: Firstly, those who are chronically ill - about ten thousand people - who naturally are afraid of the appearance of new variants, should be encouraged by the results of the research showing that a third dose for them will provide a high level of protection, almost the same as that of the general population."
"The second conclusion is that we must not be satisfied with just two vaccines, and the additional contribution of the third dose is exceptional and critical during this period."
Dr. Brosh added: "The new data shows that protection from the new Omicron variant requires an especially high level of antibodies, one which apparently can only be achieved after the booster. In this research, it seems that the antibody levels in dialysis patients, as representative of patients who suffer severe chronic illness, is high and expected to provide good protection from illness caused by Omicron."