BNT162b2-induced neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibody functions against SARS-CoV-2 diminish with age

Timothy A. Bates, Pei Lu, Ye Jin Kang, Devin Schoen, Micah Thornton, Savannah K. McBride, Chanhee Park, Daehwan Kim, William B. Messer, Marcel E. Curlin, Fikadu G. Tafesse, Lenette L. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Each severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant renews concerns about decreased vaccine neutralization weakening efficacy. However, while prevention of infection varies, protection from disease remains and implicates immunity beyond neutralization in vaccine efficacy. Polyclonal antibodies function through Fab domains that neutralize virus and Fc domains that induce non-neutralizing responses via engagement of Fc receptors on immune cells. To understand how vaccines promote protection, we leverage sera from 51 SARS-CoV-2 uninfected individuals after two doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. We show that neutralizing activities against clinical isolates of wild-type and five SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron BA.2, link to FcγRIIIa/CD16 non-neutralizing effector functions. This is associated with post-translational afucosylation and sialylation of vaccine-specific antibodies. Further, polyfunctional neutralizing and non-neutralizing breadth, magnitude, and coordination diminish with age. Thus, studying Fc functions in addition to Fab-mediated neutralization provides greater insight into vaccine efficacy for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, against SARS-CoV-2 and novel variants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111544
JournalCell Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 25 2022


  • COVID-19
  • CP: Immunology
  • Fc effector functions
  • Fc receptor
  • Omicron
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibody glycosylation
  • neutralization
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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