A homologous or variant booster vaccine after Ad26.COV2.S immunization enhances SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses in rhesus macaques

Sci Transl Med. 2022 Mar 30;14(638):eabm4996. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abm4996. Epub 2022 Mar 30.


Ad26.COV2.S has demonstrated durability and clinical efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in humans. In this study, we report the correlates of durability of humoral and cellular immune responses in 20 rhesus macaques immunized with single-shot Ad26.COV2.S and the immunogenicity of a booster shot at 8 to 10 months after the initial immunization. Ad26.COV2.S elicited durable binding and neutralizing antibodies as well as memory B cells and long-lived bone marrow plasma cells. Innate immune responses and bone marrow plasma cell responses correlated with durable antibody responses. After Ad26.COV2.S boost immunization, binding and neutralizing antibody responses against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants increased 31- to 69-fold and 23- to 43-fold, respectively, compared with preboost concentrations. Antigen-specific B cell and T cell responses also increased substantially after the boost immunization. Boosting with a modified Ad26.COV2.S.351 vaccine expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from the beta variant led to largely comparable responses with slightly higher beta- and omicron-specific humoral immune responses. These data demonstrate that a late boost with Ad26.COV2.S or Ad26.COV2.S.351 resulted in a marked increase in humoral and cellular immune responses that were highly cross-reactive across multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants in rhesus macaques.

MeSH terms

  • Ad26COVS1* / immunology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Immunization, Secondary*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus


  • Ad26COVS1
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants