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November 2021

mRNA vaccines induce durable immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern

Science. 2021 Oct 14:eabm0829. doi: 10.1126/science.abm0829. PMID: 34648302.


Goel RR, Painter MM, Apostolidis SA, Mathew D, Meng W, Rosenfeld AM, Lundgreen KA, Reynaldi A, Khoury DS, Pattekar A, Gouma S, Kuri-Cervantes L, Hicks P, Dysinger S, Hicks A, Sharma H, Herring S, Korte S, Baxter AE, Oldridge DA, Giles JR, Weirick ME, McAllister CM, Awofolaju M, Tanenbaum N, Drapeau EM, Dougherty J, Long S, D'Andrea K, Hamilton JT, McLaughlin M, Williams JC, Adamski S, Kuthuru O; UPenn COVID Processing Unit‡, Frank I, Betts MR, Vella LA, Grifoni A, Weiskopf D, Sette A, Hensley SE, Davenport MP, Bates P, Luning Prak ET, Greenplate AR, Wherry EJ, Adamski S, Alam Z, Addison MM, Byrne KT, Chandra A, Descamps HC, Han N, Kaminskiy Y, Kammerman SC, Kim J, Greenplate AR, Hamilton JT, Markosyan N, Noll JH, Omran DK, Pattekar A, Perkey E, Prager EM, Pueschl D, Rennels A, Shah JB, Shilan JS, Wilhausen N, Vanderbeck AN. 


The durability of immune memory after SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination remains unclear. Here, we longitudinally profiled vaccine responses in SARS-CoV-2 naïve and recovered individuals for 6 months after vaccination. Antibodies declined from peak levels but remained detectable in most subjects at 6 months. We found mRNA vaccines generated functional memory B cells that increased from 3-6 months post-vaccination, with the majority of these cells cross-binding the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants. mRNA vaccination further induced antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and early CD4+ T cell responses correlated with long-term humoral immunity. Recall responses to vaccination in individuals with pre-existing immunity primarily increased antibody levels without substantially altering antibody decay rates. Together, these findings demonstrate robust cellular immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 and variants for at least 6 months after mRNA vaccination.