Characterization of the significant decline in humoral immune response six months post-SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination: A systematic review



Accumulating evidence shows a progressive decline in the efficacy of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech (mRNA BNT161b2) and Moderna (mRNA-1273) in preventing breakthrough infections due to diminishing humoral immunity over time. Thus, this review characterizes the kinetics of anti-SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) antibodies after the second dose of a primary cycle of COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. A systematic search of literature was performed and a total of 18 studies (N=15,980) were identified and reviewed. The percent difference of means of reported antibody titers were then calculated to determine the decline in humoral response after the peak levels post-vaccination. Findings revealed that the peak humoral response was reached at 21-28 days after the second dose, after which serum levels progressively diminished at 4-6 months post-vaccination. Additionally, results showed that regardless of age, sex, serostatus and presence of comorbidities, longitudinal data reporting antibody measurement exhibited a decline of both anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) IgG and anti-spike IgG, ranging from 94-95% at 90-180 days and 55-85% at 140-160 days, respectively, after the peak antibody response. This suggests that the rate of antibody decline may be independent of patient-related factors and peak antibody titers but mainly a function of time and antibody class/molecular target. Hence, this study highlights the necessity of more efficient vaccination strategies to provide booster administration in attenuating the effects of waning immunity, especially in the appearance of new variants of concerns (VoCs).

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

This study did not receive any funding.

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Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv

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