COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b1 elicits human antibody and TH1 T cell responses

Ugur Sahin, Alexander Muik, Evelyna Derhovanessian, Isabel Vogler, Lena M. Kranz, Mathias Vormehr, Alina Baum, Kristen Pascal, Jasmin Quandt, Daniel Maurus, Sebastian Brachtendorf, Verena Lörks, Julian Sikorski, Rolf Hilker, Dirk Becker, Ann Kathrin Eller, Jan Grützner, Carsten Boesler, Corinna Rosenbaum, Marie Cristine KühnleUlrich Luxemburger, Alexandra Kemmer-Brück, David Langer, Martin Bexon, Stefanie Bolte, Katalin Karikó, Tania Palanche, Boris Fischer, Armin Schultz, Pei Yong Shi, Camila Fontes-Garfias, John L. Perez, Kena A. Swanson, Jakob Loschko, Ingrid L. Scully, Mark Cutler, Warren Kalina, Christos A. Kyratsous, David Cooper, Philip R. Dormitzer, Kathrin U. Jansen, Özlem Türeci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1267 Scopus citations


An effective vaccine is needed to halt the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Recently, we reported safety, tolerability and antibody response data from an ongoing placebo-controlled, observer-blinded phase I/II coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine trial with BNT162b1, a lipid nanoparticle-formulated nucleoside-modified mRNA that encodes the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein1. Here we present antibody and T cell responses after vaccination with BNT162b1 from a second, non-randomized open-label phase I/II trial in healthy adults, 18–55 years of age. Two doses of 1–50 μg of BNT162b1 elicited robust CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses and strong antibody responses, with RBD-binding IgG concentrations clearly above those seen in serum from a cohort of individuals who had recovered from COVID-19. Geometric mean titres of SARS-CoV-2 serum-neutralizing antibodies on day 43 were 0.7-fold (1-μg dose) to 3.5-fold (50-μg dose) those of the recovered individuals. Immune sera broadly neutralized pseudoviruses with diverse SARS-CoV-2 spike variants. Most participants had T helper type 1 (TH1)-skewed T cell immune responses with RBD-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell expansion. Interferon-γ was produced by a large fraction of RBD-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. The robust RBD-specific antibody, T cell and favourable cytokine responses induced by the BNT162b1 mRNA vaccine suggest that it has the potential to protect against COVID-19 through multiple beneficial mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-599
Number of pages6
Issue number7830
StatePublished - Oct 22 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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