Bavarian consortium for research on the pandemic disease COVID-19 (FOR-COVID)
Strength and durability of immune respones SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Protzer
Prof. Dr. Percy Knolle
Immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in a significant proportion of the population is key to control the pandemic. However, we and other observed that natural immunity afterCOVID-19 wanes over time. Fortunately, highly effective and safe SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were developed and are now available for almost 12 months and can be used to boost immunity in in-divuals with waning antiviral immunity. We therefore decided not to follow up our chimeric vaccine approach but rather study immunity in cohorts that received the BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. In the second funding period of this project, we will therefore focus our efforts on characterizing the breadth and durability of SARS-CoV-2 specific immune responses of convalescents after COVID-19 vaccination. Studying a large cohort of >4.500 health care workers, we were able to identify >100 convalescents from SARS-CoV-2 infections during the different waves of the pandemic and monitored their SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody and T cell responses. This cohort is followed-up since April 2020 and within this project shall be further followed up and immune responses shall be analyzed in further detail. Hereby we will investigate (i) how the immune response of convalescents over time compares to COVID-19 vaccinees, (ii) how broad and sustained immunity in convalescents after a single vaccine shot is, and (iii) how well the different groups will be protected from infection upon re-exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses.
- Technical University of Munich