Evidence for antibody as a protective correlate for COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccine. 2021 Jul 22;39(32):4423-4428. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.05.063. Epub 2021 May 24.


A correlate of protection (CoP) is urgently needed to expedite development of additional COVID-19 vaccines to meet unprecedented global demand. To assess whether antibody titers may reasonably predict efficacy and serve as the basis of a CoP, we evaluated the relationship between efficacy and in vitro neutralizing and binding antibodies of 7 vaccines for which sufficient data have been generated. Once calibrated to titers of human convalescent sera reported in each study, a robust correlation was seen between neutralizing titer and efficacy (ρ = 0.79) and binding antibody titer and efficacy (ρ = 0.93), despite geographically diverse study populations subject to different forces of infection and circulating variants, and use of different endpoints, assays, convalescent sera panels and manufacturing platforms. Together with evidence from natural history studies and animal models, these results support the use of post-immunization antibody titers as the basis for establishing a correlate of protection for COVID-19 vaccines.

Keywords: COVID-19; Correlate of protection; SARS-CoV-2; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing*
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Serotherapy
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines