Viruses, Vol. 14, Pages 2299: Immune Response after the Fourth Dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine Compared to Natural Infection in Three Doses’ Vaccinated Solid Organ Transplant Recipients

Viruses doi: 10.3390/v14102299

Authors:
Rosalia Busà
Giovanna Russelli
Monica Miele
Maria Concetta Sorrentino
Mariangela Di Bella
Francesca Timoneri
Giuseppina Di Mento
Alessandra Mularoni
Patrizio Vitulo
Pier Giulio Conaldi
Matteo Bulati

Solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs) show higher rates of COVID-19 breakthrough infection than the general population, and nowadays, vaccination is the key preventative strategy. Nonetheless, SOTRs show lower vaccine efficacy for the prevention of severe COVID-19. Moreover, the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern has highlighted the need to improve vaccine-induced immune responses by the administration of repeated booster doses. In this study, we analyzed the humoral and cellular responses in a cohort of 25 SOTRs, including 15 never-infected SOTRs who received the fourth dose of the mRNA vaccine and 10 SOTRs who contracted SARS-CoV-2 infection after the third dose. We analyzed the serum IgG and IgA levels through CLIA or ELISA, respectively, and the Spike-specific T cells by ELISpot assay. We report a significant increase in anti-Spike IgG and no differences in IgA secretion in both groups of patients before and after the booster dose or the natural infection. Still, we show higher IgA levels in recovered SOTRs compared to the fourth dose recipients. Conversely, we show the maintenance of a positive Spike-specific T-cell response in SOTRs who received the fourth dose, which, instead, was significantly increased in SOTRs who contracted the infection. Our results suggest that the booster, either through the fourth dose or natural infection, in vulnerable poor responder SOTRs, improves both humoral and cellular-specific immune responses against SARS-CoV-2.

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