Mucosal and Systemic Responses to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Vaccination Determined by Severity of Primary Infection

With much of the world infected with or vaccinated against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (commonly abbreviated SARS-CoV-2; abbreviated here SARS2), understanding the immune responses to the SARS2 spike (S) protein in different situations is crucial to controlling the pandemic. We studied the clinical, systemic, mucosal, and cellular responses to two doses of SARS2 mRNA vaccines in 62 individuals with and without prior SARS2 infection that were divided into three groups based on antibody serostatus prior to vaccination and/or degree of disease symptoms among those with prior SARS2 infection: antibody negative (naive), low symptomatic, and symptomatic. Antibody negative were subjects who were antibody negative (i.e., those with no prior infection). Low symptomatic subjects were those who were antibody negative and had minimal or no symptoms at time of SARS2 infection. Symptomatic subjects were those who were antibody positive and symptomatic at time of SARS2 infection. All three groups were then studied when they received their SARS2 mRNA vaccines. In the previously SARS2-infected (based on antibody test) low symptomatic and symptomatic groups, reactogenic symptoms related to a recall response were elicited after the first vaccination. Anti-S trimer IgA and IgG titers, and neutralizing antibody titers, peaked after the 1st vaccination in the previously SARS2-infected groups and were significantly higher than for the SARS2 antibody-negative group in the plasma and nasal samples at most time points. Nasal and plasma IgA antibody responses were significantly higher in the low symptomatic group than in the symptomatic group at most time points. After the first vaccination, differences in cellular immunity were not evident between groups, but the activation-induced cell marker (AIM+) CD4+ cell response correlated with durability of IgG humoral immunity against the SARS2 S protein. In those SARS2-infected subjects, severity of infection dictated plasma and nasal IgA responses in primary infection as well as response to vaccination (peak responses and durability), which could have implications for continued protection against reinfection. Lingering differences between the SARS2-infected and SARS2-naive up to 10 months postvaccination could explain the decreased reinfection rates in the SARS2-infected vaccinees recently reported and suggests that additional strategies (such as boosting of the SARS2-naive vaccinees) are needed to narrow the differences observed between these groups. IMPORTANCE This study on SARS2 vaccination in those with and without previous exposure to the virus demonstrates that severity of infection dictates IgA responses in primary infection as well as response to vaccination (peak responses and durability), which could have implications for continued protection against reinfection.

Media Type:

Electronic Article

Year of Publication:




Contained In:

To Main Record - volume:7

Contained In:

mSphere - 7(2022), 6 vom: 21. Dez., Seite e0027922




Sajadi, Mohammad M [Author]
Myers, Amber [Author]
Logue, James [Author]
Saadat, Saman [Author]
Shokatpour, Narjes [Author]
Quinn, James [Author]
Newman, Michelle [Author]
Deming, Meagan [Author]
Rikhtegaran Tehrani, Zahra [Author]
Magder, Laurence S [Author]
Karimi, Maryam [Author]
Abbasi, Abdolrahim [Author]
Shlyak, Mike [Author]
Baracco, Lauren [Author]
Frieman, Matthew B [Author]
Crotty, Shane [Author]
Harris, Anthony D [Author]




Antibodies, Viral
COVID-19 Vaccines
Immunoglobulin A
Immunoglobulin G
Journal Article
Mucosal immunity
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
Systemic response


Date Completed 23.12.2022

Date Revised 13.12.2023

published: Print-Electronic

Citation Status MEDLINE




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