Publication Date



The Lancet Microbe


BACKGROUND: Cytokines and chemokines play a critical role in the response to infection and vaccination. We aimed to assess the longitudinal association of COVID-19 vaccination with cytokine and chemokine concentrations and trajectories among people with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

METHODS: In this longitudinal, prospective cohort study, blood samples were used from participants enrolled in a multi-centre randomised trial assessing the efficacy of convalescent plasma therapy for ambulatory COVID-19. The trial was conducted in 23 outpatient sites in the USA. In this study, participants (aged ≥18 years) were restricted to those with COVID-19 before vaccination or with breakthrough infections who had blood samples and symptom data collected at screening (pre-transfusion), day 14, and day 90 visits. Associations between COVID-19 vaccination status and concentrations of 21 cytokines and chemokines (measured using multiplexed sandwich immunoassays) were examined using multivariate linear mixed-effects regression models, adjusted for age, sex, BMI, hypertension, diabetes, trial group, and COVID-19 waves (pre-alpha or alpha and delta).

FINDINGS: Between June 29, 2020, and Sept 30, 2021, 882 participants recently infected with SARS-CoV-2 were enrolled, of whom 506 (57%) were female and 376 (43%) were male. 688 (78%) of 882 participants were unvaccinated, 55 (6%) were partly vaccinated, and 139 (16%) were fully vaccinated at baseline. After adjusting for confounders, geometric mean concentrations of interleukin (IL)-2RA, IL-7, IL-8, IL-15, IL-29 (interferon-λ), inducible protein-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and tumour necrosis factor-α were significantly lower among the fully vaccinated group than in the unvaccinated group at screening. On day 90, fully vaccinated participants had approximately 20% lower geometric mean concentrations of IL-7, IL-8, and vascular endothelial growth factor-A than unvaccinated participants. Cytokine and chemokine concentrations decreased over time in the fully and partly vaccinated groups and unvaccinated group. Log

INTERPRETATION: Initially and during recovery from symptomatic COVID-19, fully vaccinated participants had lower concentrations of inflammatory markers than unvaccinated participants suggesting vaccination is associated with short-term and long-term reduction in inflammation, which could in part explain the reduced disease severity and mortality in vaccinated individuals.

FUNDING: US Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, Bloomberg Philanthropies, State of Maryland, Mental Wellness Foundation, Moriah Fund, Octapharma, HealthNetwork Foundation, and the Shear Family Foundation.


United States, Humans, Female, Male, Adolescent, Adult, COVID-19, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 Vaccines, Interleukin-7, Interleukin-8, Prospective Studies, COVID-19 Serotherapy, Cytokines

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COVID-19 Commons



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