Impact of B Cell Depletion on COVID-19 in Kidney Transplant Recipients

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Kidney transplant recipients are patients at high risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to being on immunosuppressive therapy. B cell depletion therapy, including rituximab, is an important strategy for ABO-incompatible transplants. However, knowledge about the effect of B cell depletion therapy on COVID-19 is lacking. Thirty kidney transplant recipients who developed COVID-19 were included in this study. To examine the impact of B cell depletion therapy, we retrospectively investigated the relationship between the background of the patients and the clinical outcome. Of the 30 patients, 13 received B cell depletion therapy. The median time between transplant and onset of COVID-19 was 6.1 years after transplantation; however, nine cases remained markedly depleted of CD19(+) cells (<4.0%). The patients were assigned to the normal (n = 21) and depletion groups (n = 9). Progression rates in the depletion and normal groups were 55.6% and 9.5%, respectively (p = 0.014). Furthermore, the survival rate was significantly lower in the depletion group (100% in the normal group vs. 66.7% in the depletion group; p = 0.021). B cell depletion therapy may have long-term effects and increase the risk of COVID-19 in kidney transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1520
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 07-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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