SARS-CoV-2 and Immunity: Natural Infection Compared with Vaccination

Simone Vespa, Pasquale Simeone, Giulia Catitti, Davide Buca, Domenico De Bellis, Laura Pierdomenico, Damiana Pieragostino*, Ilaria Cicalini, Piero Del Boccio, Luca Natale, Trevor Owens, Reza Khorooshi, Vincenzo De Laurenzi, Liborio Stuppia, Paola Lanuti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Recently, the protective and/or pathological role of virus-specific T cells in SARS-CoV-2 infection has been the focus of many studies. We investigated the anti-spike IgG levels and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in 125 donors (90 vaccinated with four different vaccine platforms, 16 individuals with a previous natural infection, and 19 not vaccinated donors who did not report previous SARS-CoV-2 infections). Our data show that anti-spike IgG titers were similar between naturally infected subjects and those vaccinated with adenoviral vector vaccines. Of note, all immunized donors produced memory CD4+ and/or CD8+ T cells. A sustained polyfunctionality of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in all immunized donors was also demonstrated. Altogether, our data suggest that the natural infection produces an overall response like that induced by vaccination. Therefore, this detailed immunological evaluation may be relevant for other vaccine efforts especially for the monitoring of novel vaccines effective against emerging virus variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8982
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2. Aug 2022


  • COVID-19 vaccines
  • polychromatic flow cytometry
  • T-cell polyfunctionality


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