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Vaccines ; 10(5):796, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1857259


Waning immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and the emergence of variants, especially of the most distant variant, Omicron, affect titers of neutralizing antibodies in the sera of vaccinated individuals. Thus, two vaccinations with the mRNA vaccine BNT162b fail to induce neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant. A first booster vaccination increases Omicron-RBD-binding IgG and IgA and neutralizing capacity. In comparison, the Wuhan isolate titers of the Omicron variant binding antibodies are 8.5 lower. After a third vaccination, induction of Omicron-RBD- and Wuhan-RBD-binding antibodies follows the same kinetic. Five to six months after the third vaccination, there are still Omicron-RBD-binding antibodies detectable, but 35.9 percent of the analyzed sera fail to neutralize the Omicron variant, while all sera efficiently neutralize the Delta isolate. In the case of the Wuhan-RBD, a significantly larger number of stable antigen–antibody complexes is formed than in Omicron-RBD. A fourth vaccination with mRNA-1273 temporarily restores levels of Omicron-, Delta- and Wuhan-specific antibodies. Comparing different booster strategies revealed that the breadth of the immune response is not affected by the vaccination regimen. Taken together, these data indicate that booster vaccinations (third and fourth dose) increase the breadth of the immune response, but there is a qualitative difference of antibodies with respect to the stability of antigen–antibody complexes and persistence of antibody titers.

Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(12)2021 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542839


Many of the approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are based on a stabilized variant of the spike protein. This raises the question of whether the immune response against the stabilized spike is identical to the immune response that is elicited by the native spike in the case of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using a peptide array-based approach, we analysed the binding of antibodies from Comirnaty-elicited, convalescent, and control sera to the peptides covering the spike protein. A total of 37 linear epitopes were identified. A total of 26 of these epitopes were almost exclusively recognized by the convalescent sera. Mapping these epitopes to the spike structures revealed that most of these 26 epitopes are masked in the pre-fusion structure. In particular, in the conserved central helix, three epitopes that are only exposed in the post-fusion conformation were identified. This indicates a higher spike-specific antibody diversity in convalescent sera. These differences could be relevant for the breadth of spike-specific immune response.

Allergy ; 2021 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532724


BACKGROUND: The mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (Comirnaty, BioNTech/Pfizer) and the vaccine candidate CVnCoV (Curevac) each encode a stabilized spike protein of SARS-CoV2 as antigen but differ with respect to the nature of the mRNA (modified versus unmodified nucleotides) and the mRNA amount (30 µg versus 12 µg RNA). This study characterizes antisera elicited by these two vaccines in comparison to convalescent sera. METHODS: Sera from BNT162b2 vaccinated healthcare workers, and sera from participants of a phase I trial vaccinated with 2, 4, 6, 8, or 12 µg CVnCoV and convalescent sera from hospitalized patients were analyzed by ELISA, neutralization tests, surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and peptide arrays. RESULTS: BNT162b2-elicited sera and convalescent sera have a higher titer of spike-RBD-specific antibodies and neutralizing antibodies as compared to the CVnCoV-elicited sera. For all analyzed sera a reduction in binding and neutralizing antibodies was found for the lineage B.1.351 variant of concern. SPR analyses revealed that the CVnCoV-elicited sera have a lower fraction of slow-dissociating antibodies. Accordingly, the CVnCoV sera almost fail to compete with the spike-ACE2 interaction. The significance of common VOC mutations K417N, E484K, or N501Y focused on linear epitopes was analyzed using a peptide array approach. The peptide arrays showed a strong difference between convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited sera. Specifically, the linear epitope at position N501 was affected by the mutation and elucidates the escape of viral variants to antibodies against this linear epitope. CONCLUSION: These data reveal differences in titer, neutralizing capacity, and affinity of the antibodies between BNT162b2- and CVnCoV-elicited sera, which could contribute to the apparent differences in vaccine efficacy.