J Intern Med. 2022 Feb 23. doi: 10.1111/joim.13471. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: While COVID-19 immunization programs attempted to reach targeted rates, cases rose significantly since the emergence of the delta variant. This retrospective cohort study describes the correlation between anti-spike antibodies and outcomes of hospitalized, breakthrough cases during the delta variant surge.
METHODS: All patients with positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR hospitalized at Mayo Clinic Florida from June 19, 2021 to November 11, 2021, were considered for analysis. Cases were analyzed by vaccination status. Breakthrough cases were then analyzed by low and high antibody titers against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, with a cut-off value of ≥132 U/mL. Outcomes included hospital length of stay (LOS), need for intensive care unit (ICU), mechanical ventilation, and mortality. We used 1:1 nearest neighbor propensity score matching without replacement to assess for confounders.
RESULTS: Among 627 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, vaccine breakthrough cases were older with more comorbidities compared to unvaccinated. After propensity score matching, the unvaccinated patients had higher mortality (27 [28.4%] vs. 12 [12.6%], p = 0.002) and length of stay (7 [1.0-57.0] vs. 5 [1.0-31.0] days, p = 0.011). In breakthrough cases, low-titer patients were more likely to be solid organ transplant recipients (16 [34.0%] vs. 9 [12.3%], p = 0.006), with higher need for ICU care (24 [51.1%] vs. 22 [11.0%], p = 0.034), longer hospital LOS (median 6 vs. 5 days, p = 0.013), and higher mortality (10 [21.3%] vs. 5 [6.8%], p = 0.025) than high-titer patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospitalized breakthrough cases were more likely to have underlying risk factors than unvaccinated patients. Low-spike antibody titers may serve as an indicator for poor prognosis in breakthrough cases admitted to the hospital. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.