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A modeling-based approach to optimize COVID-19 vaccine dosing schedules for improved protection.

JCI Insight 2023 May 26
While the development of different vaccines slowed the dissemination of SARS-CoV-2, the occurrence of breakthrough infections has continued to fuel the COVID-19 pandemic. To at least secure partial protection in majority of the population through one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, delayed administration of boosters has been implemented in many countries. However, waning immunity and emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 suggest that such measures may induce breakthrough infections due to intermittent lapses in protection. Optimizing vaccine dosing schedules to ensure prolonged continuity in protection could thus help control the pandemic. We developed a mechanistic model of immune response to vaccines as an in-silico tool for dosing schedule optimization. The model was calibrated with clinical datasets of acquired immunity to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in healthy and immunocompromised subjects and showed robust validation by accurately predicting neutralizing antibody kinetics in response to multiple doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Importantly, by estimating population vulnerability to breakthrough infections, we predicted tailored vaccination dosing schedules to minimize breakthrough infections, especially for immunocompromised subjects. We identified that the optimal vaccination schedules vary from CDC-recommended dosing, suggesting that the model is a valuable tool to optimize vaccine efficacy outcomes during future outbreaks.

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