Humoral immunity and B-cell memory in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination

Holly A. Fryer, Gemma E. Hartley, Emily S.J. Edwards, Robyn E. O'Hehir, Menno C. van Zelm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

4 Citations (Scopus)


Natural infection with SARS-CoV-2 induces a robust circulating memory B cell (Bmem) population, which remains stable in number at least 8 months post-infection despite the contraction of antibody levels after 1 month. Multiple vaccines have been developed to combat the virus. These include two new formulations, mRNA and adenoviral vector vaccines, which have varying efficacy rates, potentially related to their distinct capacities to induce humoral immune responses. The mRNA vaccines BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) elicit significantly higher serum IgG and neutralizing antibody levels than the adenoviral vector ChAdOx1 (AstraZeneca) and Ad26.COV2.S ( Janssen) vaccines. However, all vaccines induce Spike- and RBD-specific Bmem, which are vital in providing long-lasting protection in the form of rapid recall responses to subsequent infections. Past and current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoC) have shown the capacity to escape antibody neutralization to varying degrees. A booster dose with an mRNA vaccine following primary vaccination restores antibody levels and improves the capacity of these antibodies and Bmem to bind viral variants, including the current VoC Omicron. Future experimental research will be essential to evaluate the durability of protection against VoC provided by each vaccine and to identify immune markers of protection to enable prognostication of people who are at risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1643-1658
Number of pages16
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Humoral immunity and B-cell memory in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this