Bavarian consortium for research on the pandemic disease COVID-19 (FOR-COVID)

Expanding immunity against SARS-CoV-2 by vaccination

Prof. Dr. Ralf Wagner
Dr. David Peterhoff
Dr. Benedikt Asbach

Fortunately, highly effective and safe SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have been developed in the past 18 months. Future strategies will need to take a phenomenon referred to as “original antigenic sin” (OAS) into consideration, whereby the development of (B and T cell) immunity against pathogens/antigens is shaped by the first exposure and can hardly be expanded by closely related immunogens such as e.g. naturally emerging or vaccine-selected variants of concern (VOCs). On the far end, with regard to potential zoonotic spillovers, strategies have to be developed to bridge major structural and antigenic gaps amongst the immunogens to elicit immune responses linked to known correlates of protection. Herein we aim to explore - on the background of preexisting SARS-CoV-2 vaccine induced immunity - the potential of immunogens representing (i) naturally existing spike proteins (current SARS-CoV-2 VOCs [alpha – delta], SARS-CoV-1, WIV16, RaTG13, and MERS], (ii) ancestral or (iii) chimeric spike proteins derived from the above, or (iv) an epitope-enriched nucleoprotein-NSP3 fusion polypeptide, to augment and broaden pre-existing vaccine-induced humoral and cellmediated immunity. The proposed project will provide insight into potential limitations caused by OAS for our attempts to broaden protective immune responses, offer opportunities to overcome OAS and help to explore and potentially overcome limits regarding crossprotection beyond SARS-CoV-2 (pan-sarbecovirus or pan-betacoronavirus).

Project partners:

  • Association between Reactogenicity and Immunogenicity after Vaccination with BNT162b2

    Stilla Bauernfeind, Bernd Salzberger, Florian Hitzenbichler, Karolina Scigala, Sebastian Einhauser, Ralf Wagner, André Gessner, Josef Koestler, David Peterhoff

    Full text
    Vaccines (Basel) 2021 Oct; 9(10): 1089. Published online 2021 Sep 27.

  • Comparison of four commercial, automated antigen tests to detect SARS‑CoV‑2 variants of concern

    Andreas Osterman, Maximilian Iglhaut, Andreas Lehner,  Patricia Spaeth, Marcel Stern,
    Hanna Autenrieth, Maximilian Muenchhoff,  Alexander Graf,  Stefan Krebs,  Helmut Blum, 
    Armin Baiker, Natascha Grzimek-Koschewa, Ulrike Protzer,  Lars Kaderali, Hanna-Mari Baldauf, Oliver T. Keppler

    Full Text
    Medical Microbiology and Immunology,  accepted: 13 August 2021

  • Estimates and Determinants of SARS-Cov-2 Seroprevalence and Infection Fatality Ratio Using Latent Class Analysis: The Population-Based Tirschenreuth Study in the Hardest-Hit German County in Spring 2020

    Wagner R, Peterhoff D, Beileke S, Günther F, Berr M, Einhauser S, Schütz A, Niller HH, Steininger P, Knöll A, Tenbusch M, Maier C, Korn K, Stark KJ, Gessner A, Burkhardt R, Kabesch M, Schedl H, Küchenhoff H, Pfahlberg AB, Heid IM, Gefeller O, Überla K.

    Full text

    Viruses. 2021 Jun 10;13(6):1118. doi: 10.3390/v13061118.


Launching date




Funded by

Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts