Background: Monkeypox virus has recently infected more than 88 000 people, raising concerns about our preparedness against this emerging viral pathogen. Licensed and approved for mpox, the JYNNEOS vaccine has fewer side-effects than previous smallpox vaccines and has shown immunogenicity against monkeypox in animal models. This study aims to elucidate human immune responses to JYNNEOS vaccination compared with mpox-induced immunity. Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells and sera were obtained from ten individuals vaccinated with one or two doses of JYNNEOS and six individuals diagnosed with monkeypox virus infection. Samples were obtained from seven individuals before vaccination to serve as a baseline. We examined the polyclonal serum (ELISA) and single B-cell (heavy chain gene and transcriptome data) antibody repertoires and T-cell responses (activation-induced marker and intracellular cytokine staining assays) induced by the JYNNEOS vaccine versus monkeypox virus infection. Findings: All participants were men between the ages of 21 and 60 years, except for one woman in the group of mpox-convalescent individuals, and none had previous orthopoxvirus exposure. All mpox cases were mild. Vaccinee samples were collected 6–33 days after the first dose and 5–40 days after the second dose. Mpox-convalescent samples were collected 20–102 days after infection. In vaccine recipients, gene-level plasmablast and antibody responses were negligible and sera displayed moderate binding to recombinant orthopoxviral proteins (A29L, A35R, E8L, A30L, A27L, A33R, B18R, and L1R) and native proteins from the 2022 monkeypox outbreak strain. By contrast, recent monkeypox virus infection (within 20–102 days) induced robust serum antibody responses to monkeypox virus proteins and to native monkeypox virus proteins from a viral isolate obtained during the 2022 outbreak. JYNNEOS vaccine recipients presented robust orthopoxviral CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses. Interpretation: Infection with monkeypox virus resulted in robust B-cell and T-cell responses, whereas immunisation with JYNNEOS elicited more robust T-cell responses. These data can help to inform vaccine design and policies for preventing mpox in humans. Funding: National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (National Institutes of Health), and Icahn School of Medicine.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases