Assessing immune responses after vaccination is part of the evaluation package of vaccine effectiveness in the real world. With regard to SARS-CoV-2, neutralizing antibody levels has been shown to be a good indicator of antibody immune response boosting. So far, limited data have been reported from Africa including in Central Africa. The objective of this study was to provide data on anti-S1 spike total IgG and neutralizing antibodies in vaccinated and non-vaccinated including naturally infected Congolese population during B.1.214.1 and B.1.617.2 variant waves.
Recruited patients were divided into 4 groups: (1) Naturally infected by the B.1.214.1 variant on January 2021 and followed up until September 2021. These patients have been vaccinated at month 07 and then followed up for 2 months post vaccination; (2) Naturally infected by the B.1.617.2 variant from June 2021; (3) unvaccinated SARS-CoV-2 individuals with no history of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection; (3) fully vaccinated individuals with Sinopharm/BBIP-CorV or Janssen/Ad26.COV2.S. SARS-CoV-2 was detected by qRT-PCR and sequenced using Next-Generation Sequencing. ELISA method was used for detecting IgG, and neutralizing Antibody against SARS-CoV-2 antigens using commercial neutralizing assay.
Individuals infected by the B.1214.1 variant elicited consistently high IgG titers at 02, 03 and 06 months. Two months post vaccination with BBIP-CorV, participants showed a significant increase by x2.5 fold (p<0.0001) of total IgG and X1.5 fold for neutralizing antibody capacity. This study showed that natural infection with B1.617.2 (delta) variant was more immunogenic compared to those being infected with B1.214.2 variant at the same period.
We found a significantly higher concentration in anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG (p<0.0002) and antibodies neutralization capacity (P<0.0001) in fully vaccinated compared to unvaccinated participants. Two months post vaccination, individuals who received Janssen/Ad26.COV2.S presented higher (p= 0.01) total IgG to spike protein compared to BBIP-CorV.
Both natural infection and vaccination with BBIP-CorV and Janssen/Ad26.COV2.S induced antibody response in Congolese population. In addition, Janssen/Ad26.COV2.S was more immunogenic than Sinopharm/BBIP-CorV. There is a need to investigate the duration of these antibodies both in previously infected and naive vaccinated Congolese to allow public heath stakeholders to make evidence-based decision on vaccine schedule for the Congolese population.