The Effect of Waning on Antibody Levels and Memory B Cell Recall following SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Vaccination

David Forgacs, Vanessa Silva-Moraes, Giuseppe A. Sautto, Hannah B. Hanley, Jasper L. Gattiker, Alexandria M. Jefferson, KOLHE RAVINDRA, Ted M. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In order to longitudinally track SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels after vaccination or infection, we assessed anti-RBD antibody levels in over 1000 people and found no significant decrease in antibody levels during the first 14 months after infection in unvaccinated participants, however, a significant waning of antibody levels was observed following vaccination. Participants who were pre-immune to SARS-CoV-2 prior to vaccination seroconverted to higher antibody levels, which were maintained at higher levels than in previously infected, unvaccinated participants. Older participants exhibited lower level of antibodies after vaccination, but a higher level after infection than younger people. The rate of antibody waning was not affected by pre-immunity or age. Participants who received a third dose of an mRNA vaccine not only increased their antibody levels ~14-fold, but also had ~3 times more antibodies compared to when they received their primary vaccine series. PBMC-derived memory B cells from 13 participants who lost all circulating antibodies were differentiated into antibody secreting cells (ASCs). There was a significant recall of memory B cell ASCs in the absence of serum antibodies in 5–8 of the 10 vaccinated participants, but not in any of the 3 infected participants, suggesting a strong connection between antibody levels and the effectiveness of memory B cell recall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number696
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibody decay
  • antibody secreting cells
  • infection
  • memory B cell recall
  • pre-immunity
  • vaccination
  • waning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Effect of Waning on Antibody Levels and Memory B Cell Recall following SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Vaccination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this