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BACKGROUND: As there are limited data of the immunogenicity of the Sinopharm/BBIBP-CorV in different populations, antibody responses against different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and T cell responses, we investigated the immunogenicity of the vaccine, in individuals in Sri Lanka. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies were measured in 282 individuals who were seronegative at baseline, and ACE2 receptor blocking antibodies, antibodies to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the wild type (WT), alpha, beta and delta variants, ex vivo and cultured IFNγ ELISpot assays, intracellular cytokine secretion assays and B cell ELISpot assays were carried out in a sub cohort of the vaccinees at 4 weeks and at 6 weeks (2 weeks after the second dose). RESULTS: 95% of the vaccinees seroconverted, although the seroconversion rates were significantly lower (p<0.001) in individuals >60 years (93.3%) compared to those who were 20 to 39 years (98.9%). 81.25% had ACE2 receptor blocking antibodies at 6 weeks, and there was no difference in these antibody titres in vaccine sera compared to convalescent sera (p=0.44). Vaccinees had significantly less (p<0.0001) antibodies to the RBD of WT and alpha, although there was no difference in antibodies to the RBD of beta and delta compared to convalescent sera. 27.7% of 46.4% of vaccinees had ex vivo IFNγ and cultured ELISpot responses respectively, and IFNγ and CD107a responses were detected by flow cytometry. CONCLUSIONS: Sinopharm/BBIBP-CorV appeared to induce a similar level of antibody responses against ACE2 receptor, delta and beta as seen following natural infection.

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