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T-Cell and Antibody Responses to First BNT162b2 Vaccine Dose in Previously SARS-CoV-2-Infected and Infection-Naive UK Healthcare Workers: A Multicentre, Prospective, Observational Cohort Study
55 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2021More...
Background: Following a single dose of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine, higher antibody titres are observed following prior SARS-CoV-2 infection than in infection-naive individuals, but T-cell responses are less well defined.
Methods: We sampled healthcare workers (HCWs) enrolled in the UK PITCH study, before and after BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination. We measured spike-specific antibody, and quantified T-cell responses by IFNγ ELISpot assay and intracellular staining of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), comparing SARS-CoV-2-naïve individuals to those with prior infection.
Findings: HCWs aged 22 to 71 years received one (n=216) or two (n=21) vaccine doses. After a single dose, the spike-specific T-cell response was six-fold higher in previously-infected vs. naive individuals (median 340 vs. 58 SFU/106 PBMC, p<0.0001; fresh PBMC, n=99). The T-cell response in previously-infected individuals after one vaccine dose was equivalent to naïve individuals receiving two vaccine doses (median 158 vs. 165 SFU/106 PBMCs, p=0.65; cryopreserved PBMC, n=117). Anti-spike IgG levels following a single dose in those previously infected (median 512.9 antibody units/ml (AU/ml)) were 6.8-fold higher vs. naïve individuals following one dose (median 75.0 AU/ml, p<0.0001) and 2.9-fold higher than naïve individuals given two doses three weeks apart (179.9 AU/ml, p=0.03). Following vaccination, plasma from individuals with prior infection demonstrated higher in vitro neutralisation of the B.1.351 variant of concern compared to naive individuals.
Interpretation: Following a single BNT162b2 dose, HCWs with a prior history of SARS-CoV-2 infection have significantly higher T-cell and antibody responses than naive individuals.Funding UK Department of Health and Social Care and UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium.
Funding: UK Department of Health and Social Care and UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium.
Conflict of Interest: D.W.E. declares lecture fees from Gilead, outside the submitted work. The other authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Ethical Approval: PITCH was recognised as a sub-study of SIREN on 2 December 2020, which was approved by the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee, Health Research 250 Authority (IRAS ID 284460, REC reference 20/SC/0230).
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