Vaccine-elicited SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses are an established correlate of protection against viral infection in humans and nonhuman primates. However, it is less clear that vaccine-induced immunity is able to limit infection-elicited inflammation in the lower respiratory tract. To assess this, we collected bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples after SARS-CoV-2 strain USA-WA1/2020 challenge from rhesus macaques vaccinated with mRNA-1273 in a dose-reduction study. Single-cell transcriptomic profiling revealed a broad cellular landscape 48 hours after challenge, with distinct inflammatory signatures that correlated with viral RNA burden in the lower respiratory tract. These inflammatory signatures included phagocyte-restricted expression of chemokines, such as CXCL10 and CCL3, and the broad expression of IFN-induced genes, such as MX1, ISG15, and IFIT1. Induction of these inflammatory profiles was suppressed by prior mRNA-1273 vaccination in a dose-dependent manner and negatively correlated with prechallenge serum and lung antibody titers against SARS-CoV-2 spike. These observations were replicated and validated in a second independent macaque challenge study using the B.1.351/Beta variant of SARS-CoV-2. These data support a model wherein vaccine-elicited antibody responses restrict viral replication following SARS-CoV-2 exposure, including limiting viral dissemination to the lower respiratory tract and infection-mediated inflammation and pathogenesis.
Adam T. Waickman, Kaitlin Victor, Krista Newell, Tao Li, Heather Friberg, Kathryn E. Foulds, Mario Roederer, Diane L. Bolton, Jeffrey R. Currier, Robert Seder
Identification and quantification of BALF cells by scRNA-Seq.