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In Annals of clinical microbiology and antimicrobials

BACKGROUND : Chest computerized tomography (CT) scan is an important strategy that quantifies the severity of COVID-19 pneumonia. To what extent inactivated COVID-19 vaccines could impact the COVID-19 pneumonia on chest CT is not clear.

METHODS : This study recruited 357 SARS-COV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant-infected patients admitted to the Second Hospital of Nanjing from July to August 2021. An artificial intelligence-assisted CT imaging system was used to quantify the severity of COVID-19 pneumonia. We compared the volume of infection (VOI), percentage of infection (POI) and chest CT scores among patients with different vaccination statuses.

RESULTS : Of the 357 Delta variant-infected patients included for analysis, 105 were unvaccinated, 72 were partially vaccinated and 180 were fully vaccinated. Fully vaccination had the least lung injuries when quantified by VOI (median VOI of 222.4 cm3, 126.6 cm3 and 39.9 cm3 in unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated, respectively; p < 0.001), POI (median POI of 7.60%, 3.55% and 1.20% in unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated, respectively; p < 0.001) and chest CT scores (median CT score of 8.00, 6.00 and 4.00 in unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated, respectively; p < 0.001). After adjustment for age, sex, comorbidity, time from illness onset to hospitalization and viral load, fully vaccination but not partial vaccination was significantly associated with less lung injuries quantified by VOI {adjust coefficient[95%CI] for "full vaccination": - 106.10(- 167.30,44.89); p < 0.001}, POI {adjust coefficient[95%CI] for "full vaccination": - 3.88(- 5.96, - 1.79); p = 0.001} and chest CT scores {adjust coefficient[95%CI] for "full vaccination": - 1.81(- 2.72, - 0.91); p < 0.001}. The extent of reduction of pulmonary injuries was more profound in fully vaccinated patients with older age, having underlying diseases, and being female sex, as demonstrated by relatively larger absolute values of adjusted coefficients. Finally, even within the non-severe COVID-19 population, fully vaccinated patients were found to have less lung injuries.

CONCLUSION : Fully vaccination but not partially vaccination could significantly protect lung injury manifested on chest CT. Our study provides additional evidence to encourage a full course of vaccination.

Lai Miao, Wang Kai, Ding Chengyuan, Yin Yi, Lin Xiaoling, Xu Chuanjun, Hu Zhiliang, Peng Zhihang


Artificial intelligence (AI), COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, Chest CT, Lung injury