Qualitative monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination in humans using droplet microfluidics

Matteo Broketa, Aurélien Sokal, Michael Mor, Pablo Canales-Herrerias, Angga Perima, Annalisa Meola, Ignacio Fernández, Bruno Iannascoli, Guilhem Chenon, Alexis Vandenberghe, Laetitia Languille, Marc Michel, Bertrand Godeau, Sébastien Gallien, Giovanna Melica, Marija Backovic, Felix A. Rey, Jean Baudry, Natalia T. Freund, Matthieu MahévasPierre Bruhns*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination generates protective B cell responses targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. Whereas anti-spike memory B cell responses are long lasting, the anti-spike humoral antibody response progressively wanes, making booster vaccinations necessary for maintaining protective immunity. Here, we qualitatively investigated the plasmablast responses by measuring from single cells within hours of sampling the affinity of their secreted antibody for the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain (RBD) in cohorts of BNT162b2-vaccinated naive and COVID-19-recovered individuals. Using a droplet microfluidic and imaging approach, we analyzed more than 4, 000 single IgG-secreting cells, revealing high interindividual variability in affinity for RBD, with variations over 4 logs. High-affinity plasmablasts were induced by BNT162b2 vaccination against Hu-1 and Omicron RBD but disappeared quickly thereafter, whereas low-affinity plasmablasts represented more than 65% of the plasmablast response at all time points. Our droplet-based method thus proves efficient at fast and qualitative immune monitoring and should be helpful for optimization of vaccination protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere166602
JournalJCI insight
Issue number13
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Qualitative monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination in humans using droplet microfluidics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this