Antibody and T-cell response to bivalent booster SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in people with compromised immune function (COVERALL-3)

J Infect Dis. 2024 Jun 7:jiae291. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiae291. Online ahead of print.


Background: Bivalent mRNA vaccines, designed to combat emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, incorporate ancestral strains and a new variant. Our study assessed the immune response in previously vaccinated individuals of the Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS) and the Swiss Transplant Cohort Study (STCS) following bivalent mRNA vaccination.

Methods: Eligible SHCS and STCS participants received approved bivalent mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines (mRNA-1273.214 or BA.1-adapted BNT162b2) within clinical routine. Blood samples were collected at baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months post vaccination. We analyzed the proportion of participants with anti-spike protein antibody response ≥1642 units/ml (indicating protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection), and in a subsample T-cell response (including mean concentrations), stratifying results by cohorts and population characteristics.

Results: In SHCS participants, baseline anti-spike antibody concentrations ≥1642 were observed in 87% (96/112), reaching nearly 100% at follow-ups. Among STCS participants, 58% (35/60) had baseline antibodies ≥1642, increasing to 80% at 6 months. Except for lung transplant recipients, all participants showed a five-fold increase in geometric mean antibody concentrations at 4 weeks and a reduction by half at 6 months. At baseline, T-cell responses were positive in 96% (26/27) of SHCS participants and 36% (16/45) of STCS participants (moderate increase to 53% at 6 months). Few participants reported SARS-CoV-2 infections, side-effects, or serious adverse events.

Conclusions: Bivalent mRNA vaccination elicited a robust humoral response in individuals with HIV or solid organ transplants, with delayed responses in lung transplant recipients. Despite a waning effect, antibody levels remained high at 6 months and adverse events were rare.

Keywords: COVID-19; HIV; Organ transplant; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV-2 vaccine; Vaccine; bivalent vaccine.