Immune response to SARS-CoV-2 after a booster of mRNA-1273: an open-label phase 2 trial

Nat Med. 2022 May;28(5):1042-1049. doi: 10.1038/s41591-022-01739-w. Epub 2022 Mar 3.


Rising breakthrough infections of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in previously immunized individuals have raised concerns for the need for a booster vaccine dose to combat waning antibody levels and new variants. Here we report the results of the open-label, non-randomized part B of a phase 2 trial in which we evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of a booster injection of 50 µg of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine mRNA-1273 in 344 adult participants immunized 6-8 months earlier with a primary series of two doses of 50 µg or 100 µg of mRNA-1273 ( NCT04405076 ). Neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers against wild-type SARS-CoV-2 at 1 month after the booster were 1.7-fold (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5, 1.9) higher than those at 28 days after the second injection of the primary series, which met the pre-specified non-inferiority criterion (primary immunogenicity objective) and might indicate a memory B cell response. The nAb titers against the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) (exploratory objective) at 1 month after the booster were 2.1-fold (95% CI: 1.8, 2.4) higher than those at 28 days after the second injection of the primary series. The seroresponse rate (95% CI (four-fold rise from baseline)) was 100% (98.7, 100.0) at 28 days after the booster compared to 98.3% (96.0, 99.4) after the primary series. The higher antibody titers at 28 days after the booster dose compared to 28 days after the second dose in the phase 3 COVE study were also observed in two assays for anti-spike IgG antibody measured by ELISA and by Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) Multiplex. The frequency of solicited local and systemic adverse reactions after the booster dose was similar to that after the second dose in the primary two-dose series of mRNA-1273 (50 µg or 100 µg); no new signals were observed in the unsolicited adverse events; and no serious adverse events were reported in the 1-month follow-up period. These results show that a booster injection of mRNA-1273 more than 6 months after completing the primary two-dose series is safe and elicited nAb titers that were statistically significantly higher than the peak titers detected after the primary vaccination series, suggesting that a booster dose of mRNA-1273 might result in increased vaccine effectiveness against infection and disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / adverse effects
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • SARS-CoV-2*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants

Associated data