A COVID-19 Overview from the Perspective of the Brazilian Kidney Transplantation ProgramLúcio Requião-Moura, Renato Demarchi Foresto, Tainá Veras de Sandes-Freitas, José Medina-Pestana
- General Medicine
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has significantly affected kidney transplantation activities around the world, thus resulting in a substantial decrease in both deceased and living transplants. This study presents a COVID-19 overview from the perspective of the Brazilian kidney transplant program by comparing its differences or similarities with the situations observed in other countries. During the first year of the pandemic, there was a 40% reduction in the number of kidney transplants worldwide. A similar scenario was observed in Brazil, which has the world’s largest public transplantation program. Beyond its effect on transplant activity, COVID-19 has influenced the outcomes of prevalent kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) because the prolonged use of immunosuppressive drugs and comorbidities increase the susceptibility of such patients to severe disease and death. In the pre-vaccination era, almost two-thirds of KTRs required hospitalization, more than 20% required dialysis, and one-third was admitted to the intensive care unit. In the pre-vaccination period in Brazil, 15% and 21% of KTRs died within 28 and 90 days of COVID-19 diagnosis, respectively. Although high vaccination coverage rates have altered the COVID-19 landscape in many populations, persistently low immunogenicity rates following sequential vaccination shots and the absence of targeted treatments for severe cases continue to classify KTRs as highly vulnerable, thus warranting significant concern.