Antibody- and T Cell-Dependent Responses Elicited by a SARS-CoV-2 Adenoviral-Based Vaccine in a Socially Vulnerable Cohort of Elderly Individuals

Vaccines (Basel). 2022 Jun 13;10(6):937. doi: 10.3390/vaccines10060937.


Background: In spite of compelling evidence demonstrating safety and immunogenicity of adenoviral-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in the general population, its effects in socially vulnerable elderly individuals are poorly understood. Here we aimed to investigate the efficacy of two doses of combined vector vaccine, the Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik-V vaccine), at 14, 42, and 180 days after immunization, in a nursing home for underprivileged population and homeless individuals.

Methods: A phase 3, open-label clinical trial involving administration of two adenoviral vectors (Ad26-Ad5) vaccine, in elderly individuals over the ages of 60 years was performed. SARS-CoV-2 Spike RBD-specific IgG antibodies at days 21-, 42- and 180 post-vaccination was analyzed in sera of individuals receiving two doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine with an interval of 21 days. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell responses, measured by intracellular tumor necrosis factor (TNF) was determined by flow cytometry following antigen-specific cultures.

Results: A total of 72 elderly adults with a mean age of 72.6 ± 9.5 years-old was selected after applying the inclusion criteria, all corresponding to an underprivileged population. Two-doses vaccination with Sputnik-V vaccine elicited an antibody-mediated immune response (revealed by quantitative detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibodies, CMIA) 70% at day 21, 90% at day 42, and 66.1% at day 180. Fully vaccinated individuals had robust SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses, evidenced by TNF production in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in all time periods analyzed.

Conclusion: Six months after receipt of the second dose of the Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine, SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG levels declined substantially among the tested population, whereas CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell-mediated immunity remained at high levels. These data suggest that two doses of combined adenoviral-based vaccine elicits a considerable level of SARS-CoV-2 immune responses in elderly individuals, highlighting its safety and immunogenicity in this highly vulnerable population.

Keywords: COVID-19; health disparities; immune function; nursing home issues.

Grants and funding

The work was carried out with the resources of the Health Secretariat of the Municipality of Córdoba; we did not receive any grant to carry out the work. However, for the evaluation of cellular immunity, the Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine (IBYME) did receive funds as stated in another section.