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Editorial
. 2021 Mar 25;eabg9175.
doi: 10.1126/science.abg9175. Online ahead of print.

mRNA vaccination boosts cross-variant neutralizing antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection

Affiliations
  • PMID: 33766944
  • PMCID: PMC8139425
  • DOI: 10.1126/science.abg9175
Free PMC article
Editorial

mRNA vaccination boosts cross-variant neutralizing antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection

Leonidas Stamatatos et al. Science. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants have raised concerns about resistance to neutralizing antibodies elicited by previous infection or vaccination. We examined whether sera from recovered and naïve donors collected prior to, and following immunizations with existing mRNA vaccines, could neutralize the Wuhan-Hu-1 and B.1.351 variants. Pre-vaccination sera from recovered donors neutralized Wuhan-Hu-1 and sporadically neutralized B.1.351, but a single immunization boosted neutralizing titers against all variants and SARS-CoV-1 by up to 1000-fold. Neutralization was due to antibodies targeting the receptor binding domain and was not boosted by a second immunization. Immunization of naïve donors also elicited cross-neutralizing responses, but at lower titers. Our study highlights the importance of vaccinating both uninfected and previously infected persons to elicit cross-variant neutralizing antibodies.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1. B.1.351 variants show decreased susceptibility to neutralizing monoclonal antibodies.
(A to E) The ability of the indicated monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to neutralize Wuhan-Hu-1, B.1.351 and B.1.351242-243 pseudovirus infectivity in 293T-hACE2 cells was measured as indicated. The epitope specificity of each mAb is shown in parentheses (RBD: receptor binding domain; NTD: N-terminal domain; EBV: Epstein-Barr virus). Data points represent the mean of two technical replicates. Data are representative of two independent experiments.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. A single dose of a spike-derived mRNA vaccine elicits a strong recall response.
IgG (A), IgA (B) and IgM (C) end-point antibody titers specific to the receptor binding domain of the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant were measured in serum collected from donors previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 before and after one or two immunizations with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines by ELISA, as indicated. Endpoint titers measured in sera from uninfected donors following two vaccine doses are shown for comparison (gray dots). (D) Frequency of Wuhan-Hu-1 RBD-specific IgG+ memory B cells (live, IgD-, CD19+, CD20+, CD3-, CD14, CD56-, singlet, lymphocytes) in PBMC from previously infected donors was measured before and after one or two immunizations. The frequency of S6P-specific IgG+ (E) and IgA+ (F) memory B cells in PBMC previously infected donors were measured before and after one or two immunizations. The frequency of memory B cells from uninfected donors following two vaccine doses are shown for comparison in D-F (gray dots). (G) The frequency of S-specific CD4+ T cells expressing IFN- and/or IL-2 and/or CD40L in PBMC from previously infected donors was measured before and after one or two immunizations. The frequency of S-specific CD4+ T cells in PBMC from uninfected donors following two vaccine doses are shown for comparison (gray dots). Experiments were performed once. Significant differences in infected donors before or after vaccination (A-D) or between pseudoviruses (E) were determined using a Wilcoxon signed rank test (*p<0.05, ** p<0.01 and ***p<0.001). Significant differences between previously infected and uninfected donors (A-D) were determined using a Wilcoxon rank sum test (*p<0.05, **p<0.01 and **p<0.001).
Fig. 3
Fig. 3. Pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody responses are boosted by a single dose of a spike-derived mRNA vaccine.
The serum dilution resulting in 50% neutralization (ID50) of (A) Wuhan-Hu-1, (B) B.1.351, (C) B.1.351242-243, and (D) SARS-CoV-1 pseudoviruses was measured in recovered COVID-19 donors prior to and following a one or two immunizations with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, and in uninfected donors following two vaccine doses as indicated. Data points between previously infected donors who were symptomatic and asymptomatic are connected by solid and dashed lines, respectively in A-D. (E) Serum dilution resulting in 50% neutralization (ID50) from recovered donors prior to (squares) and following a single immunization (circles) with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines against Wuhan-Hu-1, B.1.351, B.1.351242-243 and SARS-CoV-1 pseudoviruses as indicated. Previously infected donors who were asymptomatic, negative for anti-IgG RBD antibodies, and RBD-specific IgG+ memory B cells prior to vaccination are shown as open circles. (F) Neutralizing potency (ID50) of serum from uninfected donors following two immunizations with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines against the indicated pseudoviruses. Each data point represents a different donor and the horizonal bars represent the medians in E and F. The dashed lines demarcate the lowest serum dilutions tested. Experiments were performed once. Significant differences in infected donors before or after vaccination, or from the same timepoint against different variants (*p<0.05, ** p<0.01 and ***p<0.001) were determined using a Wilcoxon signed rank test. Significant differences between previously infected and uninfected donors (*p<0.05, **p<0.01 and ***p<0.001) were determined using a Wilcoxon rank sum test.
Fig. 4
Fig. 4. Vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies target the RBD.
RBD-binding antibodies were adsorbed from sera from previously infected donors after receiving a single vaccine dose, or from uninfected donors after receiving two vaccine doses using Wuhan-Hu-1 RBD immobilized to magnetic beads. Antibody binding in undepleted or RBD-depleted serum from previously infected donors was measured to RBD at a 1:500 dilution (A), and S2P at a 1:4500 dilution (B) by ELISA as indicated. (C) The serum dilution resulting in 50% neutralization (ID50) of the Wuhan-Hu-1 pseudovirus was measured in undepleted or RBD-depleted of serum from the previously SARS-CoV-2 infected donors in A and B. Antibody binding in undepleted and RBD-depleted and sera from uninfected vaccinated donors was measured to RBD at a 1:500 dilution (D), and S2P at a 1:500 dilution (E) by ELISA. (F) The percent neutralization of a 1:120 dilution of undepleted or RBD-depleted of serum from the donors in D and E was measured against the Wuhan-Hu-1 rxipseudovirus. Experiments were performed once.

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