Background: Data conflict on whether vaccination decreases severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral load. The objective of this analysis was to compare baseline viral load and symptoms between vaccinated and unvaccinated adults enrolled in a randomized trial of outpatient coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment.
Methods: Baseline data from the first 433 sequential participants enrolling into the COVID-OUT trial were analyzed. Adults aged 30-85 with a body mass index (BMI) ≥25 kg/m 2 were eligible within 3 days of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test and <7 days of symptoms. Log 10 polymerase chain reaction viral loads were normalized to human RNase P by vaccination status, by time from vaccination, and by symptoms.
Results: Two hundred seventy-four participants with known vaccination status contributed optional nasal swabs for viral load measurement: median age, 46 years; median (interquartile range) BMI 31.2 (27.4-36.4) kg/m 2. Overall, 159 (58%) were women, and 217 (80%) were White. The mean relative log 10 viral load for those vaccinated <6 months from the date of enrollment was 0.11 (95% CI, -0.48 to 0.71), which was significantly lower than the unvaccinated group ( P = .01). Those vaccinated ≥6 months before enrollment did not differ from the unvaccinated with respect to viral load (mean, 0.99; 95% CI, -0.41 to 2.40; P = .85). The vaccinated group had fewer moderate/severe symptoms of subjective fever, chills, myalgias, nausea, and diarrhea (all P < .05).
Conclusions: These data suggest that vaccination within 6 months of infection is associated with a lower viral load, and vaccination was associated with a lower likelihood of having systemic symptoms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support. The clinical trial is funded by The Rainwater Charitable Foundation, The Parsemus Foundation, Fast Grants, and UnitedHealth Group Research and Development. The trial receives support from the UMN Clinical and Translational Science Institute, UL1TR002494. Dr. Bramante was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grants KL2TR002492 and UL1TR002494; and the National Institute of Digestive Diabetes and Kidney Diseases, grant K23DK124654-01A1.
© 2022 The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.
- viral load
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article