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Sci Transl Med ; 15(683): eade6023, 2023 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2240695


The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineages resulted in increased transmission rates and reduced protection from vaccines. To counteract these effects, multiple booster strategies were used in different countries, although data comparing their efficiency in improving protective immunity remain sparse, especially among vulnerable populations, including older adults. The inactivated CoronaVac vaccine was among the most widely distributed vaccine worldwide and was essential in the early control of SARS-CoV-2-related hospitalizations and deaths. However, it is not well understood whether homologous versus heterologous booster doses in those fully vaccinated with CoronaVac induce distinct humoral responses or whether these responses vary across age groups. We analyzed plasma antibody responses from CoronaVac-vaccinated younger or older individuals who received a homologous CoronaVac or heterologous BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 booster vaccine. All three evaluated boosters resulted in increased virus-specific IgG titers 28 days after the booster dose. However, we found that both IgG titers against SARS-CoV-2 Spike or RBD and neutralization titers against Omicron sublineages were substantially reduced in participants who received homologous CoronaVac compared with the heterologous BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 booster. This effect was specifically prominent in recipients >50 years of age. In this group, the CoronaVac booster induced low virus-specific IgG titers and failed to elevate neutralization titers against any Omicron sublineage. Our results point to the notable inefficiency of CoronaVac immunization and boosting in mounting protective antiviral humoral immunity, particularly among older adults, during the Omicron wave. These observations also point to benefits of heterologous regimens in high-risk populations fully vaccinated with CoronaVac.

Antibody Formation , COVID-19 , Humans , Aged , BNT162 Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2 , Immunoglobulin G , Antibodies, Viral
PLoS Biol ; 20(5): e3001506, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1862232


The impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) mRNA vaccination on pregnancy and fertility has become a major topic of public interest. We investigated 2 of the most widely propagated claims to determine (1) whether COVID-19 mRNA vaccination of mice during early pregnancy is associated with an increased incidence of birth defects or growth abnormalities; and (2) whether COVID-19 mRNA-vaccinated human volunteers exhibit elevated levels of antibodies to the human placental protein syncytin-1. Using a mouse model, we found that intramuscular COVID-19 mRNA vaccination during early pregnancy at gestational age E7.5 did not lead to differences in fetal size by crown-rump length or weight at term, nor did we observe any gross birth defects. In contrast, injection of the TLR3 agonist and double-stranded RNA mimic polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid, or poly(I:C), impacted growth in utero leading to reduced fetal size. No overt maternal illness following either vaccination or poly(I:C) exposure was observed. We also found that term fetuses from these murine pregnancies vaccinated prior to the formation of the definitive placenta exhibit high circulating levels of anti-spike and anti-receptor-binding domain (anti-RBD) antibodies to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) consistent with maternal antibody status, indicating transplacental transfer in the later stages of pregnancy after early immunization. Finally, we did not detect increased levels of circulating anti-syncytin-1 antibodies in a cohort of COVID-19 vaccinated adults compared to unvaccinated adults by ELISA. Our findings contradict popular claims associating COVID-19 mRNA vaccination with infertility and adverse neonatal outcomes.

COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Fetus , Gene Products, env , Humans , Mice , Placenta/metabolism , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Proteins , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
Nat Med ; 28(3): 481-485, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1636460


The recent emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is raising concerns because of its increased transmissibility and its numerous spike mutations, which have the potential to evade neutralizing antibodies elicited by COVID-19 vaccines. Here we evaluated the effects of a heterologous BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine booster on the humoral immunity of participants who had received a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine used globally. We found that a heterologous CoronaVac prime vaccination of two doses followed by a BNT162b2 booster induces elevated virus-specific antibody levels and potent neutralization activity against the ancestral virus and the Delta variant, resembling the titers obtained after two doses of mRNA vaccines. Although neutralization of Omicron was undetectable in participants who had received a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac, the BNT162b2 booster resulted in a 1.4-fold increase in neutralization activity against Omicron compared with the two-dose mRNA vaccine. Despite this increase, neutralizing antibody titers were reduced by 7.1-fold and 3.6-fold for Omicron compared with the ancestral strain and the Delta variant, respectively. These findings have immediate implications for multiple countries that previously used a CoronaVac regimen and reinforce the idea that the Omicron variant is associated with immune escape from vaccines or infection-induced immunity, highlighting the global need for vaccine boosters to combat the impact of emerging variants.

BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines