Vaccine-induced binding and neutralizing antibodies against Omicron 6 months after a homologous BNT162b2 booster

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Abstract

Evidence about the long-term persistence of the booster-mediated immunity against Omicron is mandatory for pandemic management and deployment of vaccination strategies. A total of 155 healthcare professionals (104 COVID-19 naive and 51 with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection) received a homologous BNT162b2 booster. Binding antibodies against the spike protein and neutralizing antibodies against Omicron were measured at several time points before and up to 6 months after the booster. Geometric mean titers of measured antibodies were correlated to vaccine efficacy (VE) against symptomatic disease. Compared to the highest response, a significant 10.2- and 11.5-fold decrease in neutralizing titers was observed after 6 months in participants with and without history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. A corresponding 2.5- and 2.9-fold decrease in binding antibodies was observed. The estimated T 1/2 of neutralizing antibodies in participants with and without history of SARS-CoV-2 infection was 42 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 25–137) and 36 days (95% CI: 25–65). Estimated T 1/2 were longer for binding antibodies: 168 (95% CI: 116–303) and 139 days (95% CI: 113–180), respectively. Both binding and neutralizing antibodies were strongly correlated to VE (r = 0.83 and 0.89). However, binding and neutralizing antibodies were modestly correlated, and a high proportion of subjects (36.7%) with high binding antibody titers (i.e., >8434 BAU/ml) did not have neutralizing activity. A considerable decay of the humoral response was observed 6 months after the booster, and was strongly correlated with VE. Our study also shows that commercial assays available in clinical laboratories might require adaptation to better predict neutralization in the Omicron era.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of medical virology
Early online date21 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • binding antibodies
  • BNT162b2
  • COVID-19
  • mRNA vaccine
  • neutralizing antibodies
  • Omicron
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • vaccine efficacy

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