PREPRINT: Humoral and cellular immune memory to four COVID-19 vaccines

Multiple COVID-19 vaccines, representing diverse vaccine platforms, successfully protect against symptomatic COVID-19 cases and deaths. Head-to-head comparisons of T cell, B cell, and antibody responses to diverse vaccines in humans are likely to be informative for understanding protective immunity against COVID-19, with particular interest in immune memory. Here, SARS-CoV-2-spike—specific immune responses to Moderna mRNA-1273, Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b2, Janssen Ad26.COV2.S and Novavax NVX-CoV2373 were examined longitudinally for 6 months. 100% of individuals made memory CD4+ T cells, with cTfh and CD4-CTL highly represented after mRNA or NVX-CoV2373 vaccination. mRNA vaccines and Ad26.COV2.S induced comparable CD8+ T cell frequencies, though memory CD8+ T cells were only detectable in 60-67% of subjects at 6 months. Ad26.COV2.S was not the strongest immunogen by any measurement, though the Ad26.COV2.S T cell, B cell, and antibody responses were relatively stable over 6 months. A differentiating feature of Ad26.COV2.S immunization was a high frequency of CXCR3+ memory B cells. mRNA vaccinees had substantial declines in neutralizing antibodies, while memory T cells and B cells were comparatively stable over 6 months. These results of these detailed immunological evaluations may also be relevant for vaccine design insights against other pathogens.

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