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mRNA vaccination compared to infection elicits an IgG-predominant response with greater SARS-CoV-2 specificity and similar decrease in variant spike recognition

By Katharina Roeltgen, Sandra C.A. Nielsen, Prabhu S Arunachalam, Fan Yang, Ramona A. Hoh, Oliver F Wirz, Alexandra S Lee, Fei Gao, Vamsee Mallajosyula, Chunfeng Li, Emily Haraguchi, Massa J. Shoura, James L Wilbur, Jacob N. Wohlstadter, Mark M Davis, Benjamin A. Pinsky, George B. Sigal, Bali Pulendran, Kari C. Nadeau, Scott D. Boyd

Posted 07 Apr 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.05.21254952

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, new vaccine strategies including lipid nanoparticle delivery of antigen encoding RNA have been deployed globally. The BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike protein shows 95% efficacy in preventing disease, but it is unclear how the antibody responses to vaccination differ from those generated by infection. Here we compare the magnitude and breadth of antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and endemic coronaviruses, in vaccinees and infected patients. We find that vaccination differs from infection in the dominance of IgG over IgM and IgA responses, with IgG reaching levels similar to those of severely ill COVID-19 patients and shows decreased breadth of the antibody response targeting endemic coronaviruses. Viral variants of concern from B.1.1.7 to P.1 to B.1.351 form a remarkably consistent hierarchy of progressively decreasing antibody recognition by both vaccinees and infected patients exposed to Wuhan-Hu-1 antigens.

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