BBV152 is a whole-virion inactivated vaccine based on the Asp614Gly variant. BBV152 is the first alum-imidazoquinolin-adjuvanted vaccine authorized for use in large populations. Here we characterized the magnitude, quality and persistence of cellular and humoral memory responses up to 6 months post vaccination. We report that the magnitude of vaccine-induced spike and nucleoprotein antibodies was comparable with that produced after infection. Receptor binding domain-specific antibodies declined against variants in the order of Alpha (B.1.1.7; 3-fold), Delta (B.1.617.2; 7-fold) and Beta (B.1.351; 10-fold). However, pseudovirus neutralizing antibodies declined up to 2-fold against the Delta followed by the Beta variant (1.7-fold). Vaccine-induced memory B cells were also affected by the Delta and Beta variants. The SARS-CoV-2-specific multicytokine-expressing CD4+ T cells were found in ~85% of vaccinated individuals. Only a ~1.3-fold reduction in efficacy was observed in CD4+ T cells against the Beta variant. We found that antigen-specific CD4+ T cells were present in the central memory compartment and persisted for at least up to 6 months post vaccination. Vaccine-induced CD8+ T cells were detected in ~50% of individuals. Importantly, the vaccine was capable of inducing follicular T helper cells that exhibited B-cell help potential. These findings show that inactivated vaccine BBV152 induces robust immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern that persists for at least 6 months after vaccination.
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.