Vaccine-elicited adaptive immunity is a prerequisite for control of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) differentially target humoral and cellular immunity. A comprehensive comparison of the effects of MS DMTs on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine–specific immunity is needed, including quantitative and functional B and T cell responses.
Spike-specific Ab and T cell responses were measured before and following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in a cohort of 80 study participants, including healthy controls and patients with MS in 6 DMT groups: untreated and treated with glatiramer acetate (GA), dimethyl fumarate (DMF), natalizumab (NTZ), sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulators, and anti-CD20 mAbs. Anti–spike-Ab responses were assessed by Luminex assay, VirScan, and pseudovirus neutralization. Spike-specific CD4 + and CD8 + T cell responses were characterized by activation-induced marker and cytokine expression and tetramer.
Anti-spike IgG levels were similar between healthy control participants and patients with untreated MS and those receiving GA, DMF, or NTZ but were reduced in anti-CD20 mAb– and S1P-treated patients. Anti-spike seropositivity in anti-CD20 mAb–treated patients was correlated with CD19 + B cell levels and inversely correlated with cumulative treatment duration. Spike epitope reactivity and pseudovirus neutralization were reduced in anti-CD20 mAb– and S1P-treated patients. Spike-specific CD4 + and CD8 + T cell reactivity remained robust across all groups, except in S1P-treated patients, in whom postvaccine CD4 + T cell responses were attenuated.
These findings from a large cohort of patients with MS exposed to a wide spectrum of MS immunotherapies have important implications for treatment-specific COVID-19 clinical guidelines.