Background and Aims: COVID-19 vaccinations have reduced morbidity and mortality from the disease. Antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2) have been associated with immune protection. Seroprevalence studies revealed high immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody levels to SARS-CoV-2 in the Pakistani population before vaccinations. We investigated the effect of BBIBP-CorV vaccination on circulating IgG antibodies and interferon (IFN)-γ from T cells measured in a cohort of healthy individuals, with respect to age, gender, and history of COVID-19. Methods: The study was conducted between April and October 2021. BBIBP-CorV vaccinated participants were followed up to 24 weeks. Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and its receptor-binding domain (RBD) were measured. IFNγ secreted by whole blood stimulation of Spike protein and extended genome antigens was determined. Results: Study participants with a history of prior COVID-19 displayed a higher magnitude of IgG antibodies to Spike and RBD. IgG seropositivity was greater in those with prior COVID-19, aged 50 years or younger and in females. At 24 weeks after vaccination, 37.4% of participants showed IFN-γ responses to SARS-CoV-2 antigens. T cell IFN-γ release was higher in those with prior COVID-19 and those aged 50 years or less. Highest IFN-γ release was observed to extended genome antigens in individuals both with and without prior COVID-19. Conclusion: We found that IgG seropositivity to both Spike and RBD was affected by prior COVID-19, age and gender. Importantly, seropositive responses persisted up to 24 weeks after vaccination. Persistence of vaccine induced IgG antibodies may be linked to the high seroprevalence observed earlier in unvaccinated individuals. Increased T cell reactivity to Spike and extended genome antigens reflects cellular activation induced by BBIBP-CorV. COVID-19 vaccination may have longer lasting immune responses in populations with a higher seroprevalence. These data inform on vaccination booster policies for high-risk groups.
- immunoglobulin G