Vaccination strategy and anti - SARS-CoV-2 S titers in healthcare workers of the INT – IRCCS “Fondazione Pascale” Cancer Center (Naples, Italy)

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Background: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the resulting disease, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have spread to millions of people globally, requiring the development of billions of different vaccine doses. The SARS-CoV-2 spike mRNA vaccine (named BNT162b2/Pfizer), authorized by the FDA, has shown high efficacy in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection after administration of two doses in individuals 16 years of age and older. In the present study, we retrospectively evaluated the differences in the SARS-CoV-2 humoral immune response after vaccine administration in the two different cohorts of workers at the INT - IRCCS “Fondazione Pascale” Cancer Center (Naples, Italy): previously infected to SARS-CoV-2 subjects and not infected to SARS-CoV-2 subjects. Methods: We determined specific anti-RBD (receptor-binding domain) titers against trimeric spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2 by Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S immunoassay in serum samples of 35 healthcare workers with a previous documented history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and 158 healthcare workers without, after 1 and 2 doses of vaccine, respectively. Moreover, geometric mean titers and relative fold changes (FC) were calculated. Results: Both previously infected and not infected to SARS-CoV-2 subjects developed significant immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 after the administration of 1 and 2 doses of vaccine, respectively. Anti-S antibody responses to the first dose of vaccine were significantly higher in previously SARS-CoV-2-infected subjects in comparison to titers of not infected subjects after the first as well as the second dose of vaccine. Fold changes for subjects previously infected to SARS-CoV-2 was very modest, given the high basal antibody titer, as well as the upper limit of 2500.0 BAU/mL imposed by the Roche methods. Conversely, for naïve subjects, mean fold change following the first dose was low (x¯ =1.6), reaching 3.8 FC in 72 subjects (45.6%) following the second dose. Conclusions: The results showed that, as early as the first dose, SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals developed a remarkable and statistically significant immune response in comparison to those who did not contract the virus previously, suggesting the possibility of administering only one dose in previously SARS-CoV-2-infected subjects. FC for previously infected subjects should not be taken into account for the generally high pre-vaccination values. Conversely, FC for not infected subjects, after the second dose, were = 3.8 in > 45.0% of vaccinees, and ≤ 3.1 in 19.0%, the latter showing a potential susceptibility to further SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalInfectious Agents and Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination
  • Anti-spike serology
  • Antibody response
  • Beads-based linear serology
  • Cancer institute
  • Post-COVID-19 single dose vaccine
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Infectious Diseases


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