COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b1 elicits human antibody and T H 1 T cell responses

Nature. 2020 Oct;586(7830):594-599. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2814-7. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Abstract

An effective vaccine is needed to halt the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Recently, we reported safety, tolerability and antibody response data from an ongoing placebo-controlled, observer-blinded phase I/II coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine trial with BNT162b1, a lipid nanoparticle-formulated nucleoside-modified mRNA that encodes the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein1. Here we present antibody and T cell responses after vaccination with BNT162b1 from a second, non-randomized open-label phase I/II trial in healthy adults, 18-55 years of age. Two doses of 1-50 μg of BNT162b1 elicited robust CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses and strong antibody responses, with RBD-binding IgG concentrations clearly above those seen in serum from a cohort of individuals who had recovered from COVID-19. Geometric mean titres of SARS-CoV-2 serum-neutralizing antibodies on day 43 were 0.7-fold (1-μg dose) to 3.5-fold (50-μg dose) those of the recovered individuals. Immune sera broadly neutralized pseudoviruses with diverse SARS-CoV-2 spike variants. Most participants had T helper type 1 (TH1)-skewed T cell immune responses with RBD-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell expansion. Interferon-γ was produced by a large fraction of RBD-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. The robust RBD-specific antibody, T cell and favourable cytokine responses induced by the BNT162b1 mRNA vaccine suggest that it has the potential to protect against COVID-19 through multiple beneficial mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Viral Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 vaccine
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Viral Vaccines

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19