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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the Moderna-1273 mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 in patients with immune-mediated diseases under different treatments. Anti-trimeric spike protein antibodies were tested in 287 patients with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases (10% receiving mycophenolate mofetil, 15% low-dose glucocorticoids, 21% methotrexate, and 58% biologic/targeted synthetic drugs) at baseline and in 219 (76%) 4 weeks after the second Moderna-1273 mRNA vaccine dose. Family members or caretakers were enrolled as the controls. The neutralizing serum activity against SARS-CoV-2-G614, alpha, and beta variants in vitro and the cytotoxic T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 peptides were determined in a subgroup of patients and controls. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody development, i.e., seroconversion, was observed in 69% of the mycophenolate-treated patients compared to 100% of both the patients taking other treatments and the controls (p < 0.0001). A dose-dependent impairment of the humoral response was observed in the mycophenolate-treated patients. A daily dose of >1 g at vaccination was a significant risk factor for non-seroconversion (ROC AUC 0.89, 95% CI 0.80-98, p < 0.0001). Moreover, in the seroconverted patients, a daily dose of >1 g of mycophenolate was associated with significantly lower anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers, showing slightly reduced neutralizing serum activity but a comparable cytotoxic response compared to other immunosuppressants. In non-seroconverted patients treated with mycophenolate at a daily dose of >1 g, the cytotoxic activity elicited by viral peptides was also impaired. Mycophenolate treatment affects the Moderna-1273 mRNA vaccine immunogenicity in a dose-dependent manner, independent of rheumatological disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Vaccines (basel)

Publication Date





COVID-19, antirheumatic agents, autoimmune diseases, mycophenolate mofetil, vaccination