SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody response in vaccinated and non-vaccinated hospital healthcare workers with or without history of infection

Microbes Infect. 2023 Jan-Feb;25(1-2):105077. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2022.105077. Epub 2022 Nov 15.


Between March 2021 and February 2022, SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies dynamics was investigated in a prospective observational study in 903 healthcare workers of a hospital in Switzerland. A surrogate neutralization assay measuring the competitive inhibition of the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) binding to the spike protein (S) of the SARS-CoV-2 wild type virus and to five variants of concern (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omicron) was used. We observed a broad distribution of neutralization activity among participants and substantial differences in neutralizing titers against variants. Participants were grouped based on combinations of vaccination status (1, 2 or 3 doses) and/or prior or subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection/reinfection. Triple vaccination resulted in the highest neutralization response, as did double vaccination with prior or subsequent infection. Double vaccination without infection showed an intermediate neutralization response while SARS-CoV-2 infection in non-vaccinated participants resulted in poor neutralization response. After triple vaccination or double vaccination plus infection, additional vaccination and/or reinfection had no impact on neutralizing antibody titers over the observed period. These results strongly support the booster dose strategy, while additional booster doses within short time intervals might not improve immunization. However, dynamics of neutralizing antibodies titers needs to be monitored individually, over time and include newly emerging variants.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Neutralization test; SARS-CoV-2; Vaccination.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Reinfection
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Vaccination


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral