SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 triggers a consistent cross-variant humoral and cellular response

D. Mileto, C. Fenizia, M. Cutrera, G. Gagliardi, A. Gigantiello, A. De Silvestri, A. Rizzo, A. Mancon, M. Bianchi, F. De Poli, M. Cuomo, I. Burgo, M. Longo, S. G. Rimoldi, C. Pagani, S. Grosso, V. Micheli, G. Rizzardini, R. Grande, M. BiasinM. R. Gismondo, A. Lombardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to rage worldwide, the emergence of numerous variants of concern (VOC) represents a challenge for the vaccinal protective efficacy and the reliability of commercially available high-throughput immunoassays. Our study demonstrates the administration of two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine that elicited a robust SARS-CoV-2-specific immune response which was assessed up to 3 months after full vaccination in a cohort of 37 health care workers (HCWs). SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody response, evaluated by four commercially available chemiluminescence immunoassays (CLIA), was qualitatively consistent with the results provided by the gold-standard in vitro neutralization assay (NTA). However, we could not observe a correlation between the quantity of the antibody detected by CLIA assays and their neutralizing activity tested by NTA. Almost all subjects developed a SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell response. Moreover, vaccinated HCWs developed a similar protective neutralizing antibodies response against the EU (B.1), Alpha (B.1.1.7), Gamma (P.1), and Eta (B.1.525) SARS-CoV-2 variants, while Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) strains displayed a consistent partial immune evasion. These results underline the importance of a solid vaccine-elicited immune response and a robust antibody titre. We believe that these relevant results should be taken into consideration in the definition of future vaccinal strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2235-2243
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Microbes and Infections
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Humoral response
  • SARS-CoV-2 bnt162b2 mRNA vaccine
  • SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern
  • T-cell mediated respone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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