Objectives: To examine the state of B-cell immunity 6 months after the second vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to the state observed 2 weeks after vaccination. Methods: Sera of 439 participants, whose immune responses to two doses of an mRNA-based vaccine (BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273) were previously characterized, was examined for anti-S1 IgG and IgA, anti-NCP IgG and neutralizing antibodies (nAb), and antinuclear antibodies (ANA). Results: Levels of all examined markers decreased significantly from 2 weeks to 6 months after second vaccination (anti-S1 IgG: 3744 ± 2571.4 vs. 253 ± 144 binding antibody units (BAU)/mL; anti-S1 IgA: 12 ± 0 vs. 1.98 ± 1.75 optical density (OD) ratio; nAb: 100% ± 0% vs. 82% ± 19.3%), the vast majority of participants retaining reactive levels of anti-S1 IgG (436/439) and anti-S1 IgA (334/439) at 6 months. Immune responses were stronger for mRNA-1273 compared with BNT162b2 (anti-S1 IgG: 429 ± 289 vs. 243 ± 143 BAU/mL; anti-S1 IgA: 5.38 ± 3.91 vs. 1.89 ± 1.53 OD ratio; nAb: 90.5% ± 12.6% vs. 81% ± 19.3%). There was no meaningful influence of sex and age on the examined markers. There was a strong correlation between anti-S1 IgG and the surrogate neutralization assay (rho = 0.91, p <0.0001), but not for for IgA and the surrogate neutralization assay (rho = 0.52, p <0.0001). There was a ceiling effect for the association between anti-S1 IgG titres and the inhibition of binding between S1 and ACE2. ANA prevalence was unchanged from 2 weeks to 6 months after the second vaccination (87/498 vs. 77/435), as were the median ANA titres (1:160 vs. 1:160). Discussion: Although the clinical consequences of decreasing anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titres cannot be estimated with certainty, a lowered degree of clinical protection against SARS-CoV-2 is possible. Persistently stronger responses to mRNA-1273 suggest that it might confer greater protection than BNT162b2, even 6 months after the second vaccination. Neither examined vaccinations induced ANA within the examined time frame.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)