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Robust and prototypical immune responses toward COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations peoples are impacted by comorbidities

Zhang, Wuji, Kedzierski, Lukasz, Chua, Brendon Y., Mayo, Mark, Lonzi, Claire, Rigas, Vanessa, Middleton, Bianca F., McQuilten, Hayley A., Rowntree, Louise C., Allen, Lilith F., Purcell, Ruth A., Tan, Hyon-Xhi, Petersen, Jan, Chaurasia, Priyanka, Mordant, Francesca, Pogorelyy, Mikhail V., Minervina, Anastasia A., Crawford, Jeremy Chase, Perkins, Griffith B., Zhang, Eva, Gras, Stephanie, Clemens, E. Bridie, Juno, Jennifer A., Audsley, Jennifer, Khoury, David S., Holmes, Natasha E., Thevarajan, Irani, Subbarao, Kanta, Krammer, Florian, Cheng, Allen C., Davenport, Miles P., Grubor-Bauk, Branka, Coates, P. Toby, Christensen, Britt, Thomas, Paul G., Wheatley, Adam K., Kent, Stephen J., Rossjohn, Jamie ORCID:, Chung, Amy W., Boffa, John, Miller, Adrian, Lynar, Sarah, Nelson, Jane, Nguyen, Thi H. O., Davies, Jane and Kedzierska, Katherine 2023. Robust and prototypical immune responses toward COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations peoples are impacted by comorbidities. Nature Immunology 24 (6) , pp. 966-978. 10.1038/s41590-023-01508-y

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High-risk groups, including Indigenous people, are at risk of severe COVID-19. Here we found that Australian First Nations peoples elicit effective immune responses to COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccination, including neutralizing antibodies, receptor-binding domain (RBD) antibodies, SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific B cells, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In First Nations participants, RBD IgG antibody titers were correlated with body mass index and negatively correlated with age. Reduced RBD antibodies, spike-specific B cells and follicular helper T cells were found in vaccinated participants with chronic conditions (diabetes, renal disease) and were strongly associated with altered glycosylation of IgG and increased interleukin-18 levels in the plasma. These immune perturbations were also found in non-Indigenous people with comorbidities, indicating that they were related to comorbidities rather than ethnicity. However, our study is of a great importance to First Nations peoples who have disproportionate rates of chronic comorbidities and provides evidence of robust immune responses after COVID-19 vaccination in Indigenous people.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Systems Immunity Research Institute (SIURI)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 1529-2908
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 10 April 2023
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 21:03

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