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mRNA-1273 vaccine efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 Delta wanes over time; however, there are limited data on the impact of durability of immune responses on protection. We immunized rhesus macaques at weeks 0 and 4 and assessed immune responses over one year in blood, upper and lower airways. Serum neutralizing titers to Delta were 280 and 34 reciprocal ID50 at weeks 6 (peak) and 48 (challenge), respectively. Antibody binding titers also decreased in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Four days after challenge, virus was unculturable in BAL and subgenomic RNA declined ~3-log10 compared to control animals. In nasal swabs, sgRNA declined 1-log10 and virus remained culturable. Anamnestic antibody responses (590-fold increase) but not T cell responses were detected in BAL by day 4 post-challenge. mRNA-1273-mediated protection in the lungs is durable but delayed and potentially dependent on anamnestic antibody responses. Rapid and sustained protection in upper and lower airways may eventually require a boost.

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