Mattias Forsell, Associate professor at (UmU) and colleagues have shown that immunization strategies has potential to augment COVID-19 vaccine efficacy. The study was recently published in Science and was conducted with financing from The National SciLifeLab-KAW COVID-19 Research program.
The findings show how the body’s immune system can be controlled by giving the same individual two different vaccines. What is affected is not only the amount of antibodies, but also the quality of the immune system’s memory. In the study, researchers longitudinally profiled SARS-CoV-2 spike (S)-specific serological and memory B cell responses in individuals receiving either homologous or heterologous prime-boost vaccination. Results show that heterologous mRNA booster immunization induced higher serum neutralizing antibody and MBC responses than homologous boosting did.
“In the long run, this can lead to improved opportunities to fine-tune combinations of vaccines against future pandemics. Simplified, with these findings we have discovered a way to control the immune system in a more precise way than what was known when the current COVID-19 vaccines were developed”, says Mattias Forsell, researcher at Umeå University and one of the initiators of the study in a press release from Umeå University.
Through collaboration with Jonas Klingström and colleagues from his research group at Karolinska Institutet, it was also possible to demonstrate a difference in how the different vaccine strategies provided different protection against infection with the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.
The study was supported in part by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation through SciLifeLab’s national program The National SciLifeLab-KAW COVID-19 Research program.