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Clin Microbiol Infect ; 2021 Sep 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415295


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the response of the immune system (and its influencing factors) to vaccination with BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273. METHODS: 531 vaccinees, recruited from healthcare professionals, donated samples before, in between, and after the administration of the two doses of the vaccine. T- and B-cell responses were examined via interferon-γ (IFN-γ) release assay, and antibodies against different epitopes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (S1 and NCP) were detected via ELISA and surrogate neutralization assay. Results were correlated with influencing factors such as age, sex, prior infection, vaccine received (BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273), and immunosuppression. Furthermore, antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) were measured to screen for autoimmune responses following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine. RESULTS: No markers of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 were found before the first vaccination. Two weeks after it, specific responses against SARS-CoV-2 were already measurable (median ± median absolute deviation (MAD): anti-S1 IgG 195.5 ± 172.7 BAU/mL; IgA 6.7 ± 4.9 OD; surrogate neutralization 39 ± 23.7%), and were significantly increased two weeks after the second dose (anti-S1 IgG 3744 ± 2571.4 BAU/mL; IgA 12 ± 0 OD; surrogate neutralization 100 ± 0%, IFN-γ 1897.2 ± 886.7 mIU/mL). Responses were stronger for younger participants (this difference decreasing after the second dose). Further influences were previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 (causing significantly stronger responses after the first dose compared to unexposed individuals (p ≤ 0.0001)) and the vaccine received (significantly stronger reactions for recipients of mRNA-1273 after both doses, p < 0.05-0.0001). Some forms of immunosuppression significantly impeded the immune response to the vaccination (with no observable immune response in three immunosuppressed participants). There was no significant induction of ANAs by the vaccination (no change in qualitative ANA results (p 0.2592) nor ANA titres (p 0.08) from pre-to post-vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: Both vaccines elicit strong and specific immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 which become detectable one week (T-cell response) or two weeks (B-cell response) after the first dose.

Immunity ; 53(6): 1258-1271.e5, 2020 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-988080


CD4+ T cells reactive against SARS-CoV-2 can be found in unexposed individuals, and these are suggested to arise in response to common cold coronavirus (CCCoV) infection. Here, we utilized SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ T cell enrichment to examine the antigen avidity and clonality of these cells, as well as the relative contribution of CCCoV cross-reactivity. SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ memory T cells were present in virtually all unexposed individuals examined, displaying low functional avidity and multiple, highly variable cross-reactivities that were not restricted to CCCoVs. SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ T cells from COVID-19 patients lacked cross-reactivity to CCCoVs, irrespective of strong memory T cell responses against CCCoV in all donors analyzed. In severe but not mild COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells displayed low functional avidity and clonality, despite increased frequencies. Our findings identify low-avidity CD4+ T cell responses as a hallmark of severe COVID-19 and argue against a protective role for CCCoV-reactive T cells in SARS-CoV-2 infection.

CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/metabolism , Rhinovirus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Cells, Cultured , Cross Reactions , Disease Progression , Environmental Exposure , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Lymphocyte Activation , Protein Binding , Severity of Illness Index , T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity