Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

COVID-19 mRNA vaccine induced antibody responses against three SARS-CoV-2 variants

List of AuthorsJalkanen Pinja, Kolehmainen Pekka, Häkkinen Hanni K., Huttunen Moona, Tähtinen Paula A., Lundberg Rickard, Maljanen Sari, Reinholm Arttu, Tauriainen Sisko, Pakkanen Sari H., Levonen Iris, Nousiainen Arttu, Miller Taru, Välimaa Hanna, Ivaska Lauri, Pasternack Arja, Naves Rauno, Ritvos Olli, Österlund Pamela, Kuivanen Suvi, Smura Teemu, Hepojoki Jussi, Vapalahti Olli, Lempainen Johanna, Kakkola Laura, Kantele Anu, Julkunen Ilkka


Publication year2021

JournalNature Communications

Journal acronymNAT COMMUN

Volume number12

Number of pages11





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As SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating for over a year, dozens of vaccine candidates are under development or in clinical use. The BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine induces spike protein-specific neutralizing antibodies associated with protective immunity. The emergence of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants has raised concerns of reduced vaccine efficacy and increased re-infection rates. Here we show, that after the second dose, the sera of BNT162b2-vaccinated health care workers (n=180) effectively neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 variant with the D614G substitution and the B.1.1.7 variant, whereas the neutralization of the B.1.351 variant is five-fold reduced. Despite the reduction, 92% of the seronegative vaccinees have a neutralization titre of >20 for the B.1.351 variant indicating some protection. The vaccinees' neutralization titres exceeded those of recovered non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Our work provides evidence that the second dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine induces cross-neutralization of at least some of the circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants contain mutations in the spike protein that may affect vaccine efficacy. Here, Jalkanen et al. show, using sera from 180 BNT162b2-vaccinated health care workers, that neutralization of SARS-CoV2 variant B.1.1.7 is not affected, while neutralization of B.1.351 variant is five-fold reduced.

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Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 16:20