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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22274196


The detailed mechanisms of COVID-19 infection pathology remain poorly understood. To improve our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 pathology, we performed a multi-omics analysis of an immunologically naive SARS-CoV-2 clinical cohort from the plasma of uninfected controls, mild, and severe infections. A comparison of healthy controls and patient samples showed activation of neutrophil degranulation pathways and formation of neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) complexes that were activated in a subset of the mild infections and more prevalent in severe infections (containing multiple NET proteins in individual patient samples). As a potential mechanism to suppress NET formation, multiple redox enzymes were elevated in the mild and severe symptom population. Analysis of metabolites from the same cohort showed a 24- and 60-fold elevation in plasma L-cystine, the oxidized form of cysteine, which is a substrate of the powerful antioxidant glutathione, in mild and severe patients, respectively. Unique to patients with mild infections, the carnosine dipeptidase modifying enzyme (CNDP1) was up-regulated. The strong protein and metabolite oxidation signatures suggest multiple compensatory pathways working to suppress oxidation and NET formation in SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21259544


BackgroundmRNA COVID-19 vaccines are playing a key role in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. The relationship between post-vaccination symptoms and strength of antibody responses is unclear. ObjectiveTo determine whether adverse effects caused by vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine are associated with the magnitude of vaccine-induced antibody levels. DesignSingle center, prospective, observational cohort study. SettingParticipants worked at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and were seen monthly at the Naval Medical Research Center Clinical Trials Center. ParticipantsGenerally healthy adults that were not severely immunocompromised, had no history of COVID-19, and were seronegative for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein prior to vaccination. MeasuresSeverity of vaccine-associated symptoms was obtained through participant completed questionnaires. Testing for IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and receptor binding domain was conducted using microsphere-based multiplex immunoassays. Results206 participants were evaluated (69.4% female, median age 41.5 years old). We found no correlation between vaccine-associated symptom severity scores and vaccine-induced antibody titers one month after vaccination. We also observed that 1) post-vaccination symptoms were inversely correlated with age and weight and more common in women, 2) systemic symptoms were more frequent after the second vaccination, 3) high symptom scores after first vaccination were predictive of high symptom scores after second vaccination, and 4) older age was associated with lower titers. LimitationsStudy only observes antibody responses and consists of healthy participants. ConclusionsLack of post-vaccination symptoms following receipt of the BNT162b2 vaccine does not equate to lack of vaccine-induced antibodies one month after vaccination. This study also suggests that it may be possible to design future mRNA vaccines that confer robust antibody responses with lower frequencies of vaccine-associated symptoms. FundingThis study was executed by the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program (IDCRP), a Department of Defense (DoD) program executed by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) through a cooperative agreement by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF). This project has been funded by the Defense Health Program, U.S. DoD, under award HU00012120067. Project funding for JHP was in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN261200800001E. The funding bodies have had no role in the study design or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21250535


BackgroundThe risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) subsequent infection among seropositive young adults was studied prospectively. MethodsThe study population comprised 3,249 predominantly male, 18-20-year-old Marine recruits. Upon arrival at a Marine-supervised two-week quarantine, participants were assessed for baseline SARS-CoV-2 IgG seropositivity, defined as a 1:150 dilution or greater on receptor binding domain and full-length spike protein enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assays. SARS-CoV-2 infection was assessed by PCR at initiation, middle and end of the quarantine. After appropriate exclusions, including participants with a positive PCR during quarantine, we performed three biweekly PCR tests in both seropositive and in seronegative groups once recruits left quarantine and entered basic training and baseline neutralizing antibody titers on all subsequently infected seropositive and selected seropositive uninfected participants. FindingsAmong 189 seropositive participants, 19 (10.1%) had at least one positive PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 during the six-week follow-up (1.1 cases per person-year). In contrast, 1,079 (48.0%) of the 2,247 seronegative participants tested positive (6.2 cases per person-year). The incidence rate ratio was 0.18 (95% CI 0.11-0.28, p<0.00001). Among seropositive recruits, infection was associated with lower baseline full-length spike protein IgG titers (p<0.0001). Compared with seronegative recruits, seropositive recruits had about 10-fold lower viral loads (ORF1ab gene, p<0.005), and trended towards shorter duration of PCR positivity (p=0.18) and more frequent asymptomatic infections (p=0.13). Among seropositive participants, baseline neutralizing titers were detected in 45 of 54 (83.3%) uninfected and in 6 of 19 (31.6%) infected participants during the 6 weeks of observation (ID50 difference p<.0001). InterpretationSeropositive young adults had about one-fifth the risk of subsequent infection compared with seronegative individuals. Although antibodies induced by initial infection are largely protective, they do not guarantee effective SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity or immunity against subsequent infection. These findings may be relevant for optimization of mass vaccination strategies. FundingDefense Health Agency and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency