The deployment of effective vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical to eradicate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Many licensed vaccines confer protection by inducing long-lived plasma cells (LLPCs) and memory B cells (MBCs), cell types canonically generated during germinal center (GC) reactions. ⋯ Importantly, GC responses strongly correlated with neutralizing antibody production. mRNA vaccines more efficiently induced key regulators of the Tfh cell program and influenced the functional properties of Tfh cells. Overall, this study identifies SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines as strong candidates for promoting robust GC-derived immune responses.
Various vaccine strategies have been proposed in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, each with unique strategies for eliciting immune responses. Here, we developed nanoparticle vaccines by covalently conjugating the self-assembled 24-mer ferritin to the receptor binding domain (RBD) and/or heptad repeat (HR) subunits of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) protein. Compared to monomer vaccines, nanoparticle vaccines elicited more robust neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses. ⋯ RBD-HR nanoparticle vaccines also promoted neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses against other coronaviruses. The nanoparticle vaccination of rhesus macaques induced neutralizing antibodies, and T and B cell responses prior to boost immunization; these responses persisted for more than three months. RBD- and HR-based nanoparticles thus present a promising vaccination approach against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.