Heart transplant

Israeli heart transplant surgeon first to receive fourth vaccine in world-leading trial

Professor Jacov Lavee receives fourth dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in trial in Israel, as health ministry plans to offer second booster to elderly and immunocompromised people in Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel December 27, 2021. REUTERS / Ronen Zvulun

An Israeli heart transplant surgeon became the first to receive a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, in an unprecedented clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of administering a second round of callbacks amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

“It’s a small blow to the shoulder, but a giant leap for humanity in the global battle against COVID infection,” said Professor Jacob Lavee, the first participant in the study conducted at Sheba Israel Medical Center. “One of the main reasons I decided to join this particular study, besides the desire to be protected on my own, was that I didn’t want to expose the heart transplant patients I care for to the potential. to get Omicron. This is a real threat, because from our own research we know that their immunity after the third dose has dropped significantly, so they are at risk.

As part of the trial, a group of 150 health workers from Sheba – who received the third dose of vaccine before the end of August and have now shown serologic results below 700 – will receive a fourth injection of the COVID vaccine -19. About 80 of the 150 participants received their vaccine on Monday and the rest will be vaccinated tomorrow, Sheba’s spokesperson said.

“The trial will focus on the efficacy of the vaccine in producing antibodies and safety, to determine whether a fourth vaccine is needed in general,” said Professor Gili Regev-Yochay, principal investigator of the study. . “This research should shed light on the additional benefits of administering a fourth dose, and we will [aim to] understand if, and to whom it is worth giving.

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December 29, 2021 2:41 P.M.

In the coming days, the 150 volunteers will undergo serological tests to check their reaction to the vaccine and test the antibody response.

Earlier this month, an expert panel from the Israeli Ministry of Health recommended giving a fourth dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine to people aged 60 and over who received a booster at least four years ago. month. However, a final approval by the director general of the ministry is still pending.

Regev-Yochay will submit the results and recommendations of the study to the Israeli Ministry of Health in about two weeks. The results should help guide the Israeli government in its decision to roll out a second booster for the elderly and possibly the general population.

“This research is very important, because in a few days we will have some initial safety data, and we will have a little basis on how immunogenically the fourth vaccine is increasing,” said Regev-Yochay, director of Sheba’s Infectious. Disease Epidemiology Unit. “We will be safer to recommend that anyone who is immunocompromised can go and seek [a second booster], or if we find that we have outbreaks with severe illness in nursing homes, maybe we should decide to recommend them to [get another shot].

The Sheba study is being carried out in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Health and is approved by the Helsinki Committee which is responsible for validating human trials.