Although the immunological memory produced by BNT162b2 vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been well studied and established, further information using different racial cohorts is necessary to understand the overall immunological response to vaccination. We evaluated memory B and T cell responses to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 spike protein before and after the third booster using a Japanese cohort. Although the Ab titer against the spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) decreased significantly 8 mo after the second vaccination, the number of memory B cells continued to increase, whereas the number of memory T cells decreased slowly. Memory B and T cells from unvaccinated infected patients showed similar kinetics. After the third vaccination, the Ab titer increased to the level of the second vaccination, and memory B cells increased at significantly higher levels before the booster, whereas memory T cells recovered close to the second vaccination levels. In memory T cells, the frequency of CXCR5+CXCR3+CCR62 circulating follicular Th1 was positively correlated with RBD-specific Ab-secreting B cells. For the response to variant RBDs, although 60-80% of memory B cells could bind to the omicron RBD, their avidity was low, whereas memory T cells show an equal response to the omicron spike. Thus, the persistent presence of memory B and T cells will quickly upregulate Ab production and T cell responses after omicron strain infection, which prevents severe illness and death due to coronavirus disease 2019.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy