Medical Field: Rheumatology
Award: Winner
Country: Austria
Year: 2022
Research Work: Response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease depends on immunosuppressive regimen: a matched, prospective cohort study
Published in: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

Beyond human relationships, I am driven by an insatiable desire to learn as much as I can about the things that interest me, and research is a great way to do that. I am eternally grateful for having the opportunity to do so.


Peter Mandl is Chief Consultant and Associate Professor at the Division of Rheumatology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, a EULAR Centre of Excellence. He completed his doctorate in functional neuroscience with honors at the Nathan Kline Institute in Orangeburg, New York, USA, and at the Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

For Peter Mandl, MD, PhD, there was never a period without research – whether as a resident, a PhD student around the world or a clinician researcher in Vienna where he can do both clinical and translational research. He gathered knowledge in multiple fields, from psychiatry, neuropharmacology to epidemiology, before finally deciding to pursue a career in rheumatology.

In his submitted paper he wanted to assess the response to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease and the impact of immunosuppressive medication, which is used to treat such diseases. 

We conducted a matched cohort study of 82 patients and 82 healthy control subjects who were distributed equally according to sex and age. We found that the vaccination response was determined primarily by the number of DMARDs and/or glucocorticoids received, with patients receiving combination therapy (dual and triple therapy) showing the poorest response. Patients showed an overall good response after the second vaccination with an mRNA vaccine. However, the choice of immunosuppressive medication has a marked effect both on the development of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and the overall antibody level, and the number of different immunomodulatory therapies determines the vaccination response.

Besides being a passionate researcher, Mandl is also a man of many talents that recharge him. His hobbies include writing children’s books, hosting a science podcast with an evolutionary biologist, and spending time with his family. Recently he also authored and produced the animation movie “Kopf hoch Gina” which raises awareness of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.