Only limited data are available regarding the immunogenicity of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in HIV-1+ patients. Therefore, we investigated the humoral immune response after BNT162b2-mRNA vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 infection in HIV-1+ patients on antiretroviral therapy compared to HIV-1-uninfected subjects. Serum and saliva samples were analysed by SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific IgG and IgA ELISAs and a surrogate neutralization assay. While all subjects developed anti-spike IgG and IgA and neutralizing antibodies in serum after two doses of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine, the HIV-1+ subjects displayed significantly lower neutralizing capacity and anti-spike IgA in serum compared to HIV-1-uninfected subjects. Serum levels of anti-spike IgG and neutralizing activity were significantly higher in vaccinees compared to SARS-CoV-2 convalescents irrespective of HIV-1 status. Among SARS-CoV-2 convalescents, there was no significant difference in spike-specific antibody response between HIV-1+ and uninfected subjects. In saliva, anti-spike IgG and IgA antibodies were detected both in vaccinees and convalescents, albeit at lower frequencies compared to the serum and only rarely with detectable neutralizing activity. In summary, our study demonstrates that the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine induces SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies in HIV-1-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy, however, lower vaccine induced neutralization activity indicates a lower functionality of the humoral vaccine response in HIV-1+ patients.
Keywords: HIV-1; SARS-CoV-2; antibody; humoral immune response; mucosal immunity.