SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines decouple anti-viral immunity from humoral autoimmunity
mRNA-based vaccines dramatically reduce the occurrence and severity of COVID-19, but are associated with rare vaccine-related adverse effects. These toxicities, coupled with observations that SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with autoantibody development, raise questions whether COVID-19 vaccines may also promote the development of autoantibodies, particularly in autoimmune patients. Here we used Rapid Extracellular Antigen Profiling to characterize self- and viral-directed humoral responses after SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination in 145 healthy individuals, 38 patients with autoimmune diseases, and 8 patients with mRNA vaccine-associated myocarditis. We confirm that most individuals generated robust virus-specific antibody responses post vaccination, but that the quality of this response is impaired in autoimmune patients on certain modes of immunosuppression. Autoantibody dynamics are remarkably stable in all vaccinated patients compared to COVID-19 patients that exhibit an increased prevalence of new autoantibody reactivities. Patients with vaccine-associated myocarditis do not have increased autoantibody reactivities relative to controls. In summary, our findings indicate that mRNA vaccines decouple SARS-CoV-2 immunity from autoantibody responses observed during acute COVID-19. Whilst SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines have demonstrated efficacy in reducing infection severity, research has shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with new autoantibodies. Whether this would also be observed during mRNA vaccination is unclear. Here, the authors use an autoantibody screening platform to monitor autoantibody responses in a diverse cohort during vaccination.