Seasonal Betacoronavirus Antibodies’ Expansion Post-BNT161b2 Vaccination Associates with Reduced SARS-CoV-2 VoC Neutralization

Stefania Dispinseri, Ilaria Marzinotto, Cristina Brigatti, Maria Franca Pirillo, Monica Tolazzi, Elena Bazzigaluppi, Andrea Canitano, Martina Borghi, Alessandra Gallinaro, Roberta Caccia, Riccardo Vercesi, Paul F. McKay, Fabio Ciceri, Lorenzo Piemonti, Donatella Negri, Paola Cinque, Andrea Cara, Gabriella Scarlatti, Vito Lampasona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is known to induce antibodies that recognize also variants of concerns (VoCs) of the virus. However, epidemiological and laboratory evidences indicate that these antibodies have a reduced neutralization ability against VoCs. We studied binding and neutralizing antibodies against the Spike protein domains and subunits of the Wuhan-Hu-1 virus and its alpha, beta, delta VoCs and of seasonal betacoronaviruses (HKU1 and OC43) in a cohort of 31 health care workers prospectively followed post-vaccination with BNT162b2-Comirnaty. The study of sequential samples collected up to 64 days post-vaccination showed that serological assays measuring IgG against Wuhan-Hu-1 antigens were a poor proxy for VoC neutralization. In addition, in subjects who had asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 prior to vaccination, the loss of nAbs following disease could be rapid and accompanied by post-vaccination antibody levels similar to those of naïve vaccinees. Interestingly, in health care workers naïve for SARS-CoV-2 infection, vaccination induced a rapid and transient reactivation of pre-existing seasonal coronaviruses IgG responses that was associated with a subsequent reduced ability to neutralize alpha and beta VoCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-458
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Antibodies
  • COVID-19
  • Neutralizing antibodies
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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