The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 reprograms both adaptive and innate immune responses
F. Konstantin Föhse,
Gijs J. Overheul,
Josephine van de Maat,
S. Andrei Sarlea,
Jaap ten Oever,
Frank L van de Veerdonk,
Leo A.B. Joosten,
Bart L. Haagmans,
Reinout van Crevel,
Ronald P. van Rij,
Marien I. de Jonge,
Mihai G. Netea
Posted 06 May 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.03.21256520
Posted 06 May 2021
The mRNA-based BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech was the first registered COVID-19 vaccine and has been shown to be up to 95% effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections. Little is known about the broad effects of the new class of mRNA vaccines, especially whether they have combined effects on innate and adaptive immune responses. Here we confirmed that BNT162b2 vaccination of healthy individuals induced effective humoral and cellular immunity against several SARS-CoV-2 variants. Interestingly, however, the BNT162b2 vaccine also modulated the production of inflammatory cytokines by innate immune cells upon stimulation with both specific (SARS-CoV-2) and non-specific (viral, fungal and bacterial) stimuli. The response of innate immune cells to TLR4 and TLR7/8 ligands was lower after BNT162b2 vaccination, while fungi-induced cytokine responses were stronger. In conclusion, the mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine induces complex functional reprogramming of innate immune responses, which should be considered in the development and use of this new class of vaccines.
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