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researchsquare; 2022.


Background: Patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) on immunosuppressants (ISPs) may have impaired long-term humoral immune responses and increased disease activity after SARS-CoV-2 infection. We aimed to investigate long-term humoral immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 and increased disease activity after a primary SARS-CoV-2 infection in unvaccinated IMID patients on ISPs. Methods: IMID patients on active treatment with ISPs and controls (i.e. IMID patients not on ISP and healthy controls) with a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection before first vaccination were included from an ongoing prospective cohort study (T2B! study). Clinical data on infections and increased disease activity were registered using electronic surveys and health records. A serum sample was collected before first vaccination to measure SARS-CoV-2 anti-receptor-binding domain (RBD) antibodies. Results: In total, 193 IMID patients on ISP and 113 controls were included. Serum samples from 185 participants were available, with a median time of 173 days between infection and sample collection. The rate of seropositive IMID patients on ISPs was 78% compared to 100% in controls (p<0.001). Seropositivity rates were lowest in patients on anti-CD20 (40.0%) and anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) agents (60.5%), as compared to other ISPs (p<0.001 and p<0.001, respectively). Increased disease activity after infection was reported by 68 of 260 patients (26.2%; 95% CI 21.2–31.8%), leading to ISP intensification in 6 out of these 68 patients (8.8%). Conclusion: IMID patients using ISPs showed reduced long-term humoral immune responses after primary SARS-CoV-2 infection, which was mainly attributed to treatment with anti-CD20 and anti-TNF agents. Increased disease activity after SARS-CoV-2 infection was reported commonly, but was mostly mild. Trial registration NL74974.018.20, Trial ID: NL8900. Registered on 9 September 2020.

COVID-19 , Necrosis , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.01.06.20249035


The novel SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged in late 2019 and has caused a global health and economic crisis. The characterization of the human antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection is vital for serosurveillance purposes as well for treatment options such as transfusion with convalescent plasma or immunoglobin products derived from convalescent plasma. In this study, we measured antibody responses in 844 longitudinal samples from 151 RT-PCR positive SARS-CoV-2 convalescent adults during the first 34 weeks after onset of symptoms. All donors were seropositive at the first sampling moment and only one donor seroreverted during follow-up analysis. Anti-RBD IgG and anti-nucleocapsid IgG levels slowly declined with median half-lifes of 62 and 59 days during 2-5 months after symptom onset, respectively. The rate of decline of antibody levels diminished during extended follow-up. In addition, the magnitude of the IgG response correlated with neutralization capacity measured in a classic plaque reduction assay as well in our in-house developed competition assay. The result of this study gives valuable insight into the longitudinal response of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.01.06.425544


The non-linear progression of new infection numbers in a pandemic poses challenges to the evaluation of its management. The tools of complex systems research may aid in attaining information that would be difficult to extract with other means. To study the COVID-19 pandemic, we utilize the reported new cases per day for the globe, nine countries and six US states through October 2020. Fourier and univariate wavelet analyses inform on periodicity and extent of change. Evaluating time-lagged data sets of various lag lengths, we find that the autocorrelation function, average mutual information and box counting dimension represent good quantitative readouts for the progression of new infections. Bivariate wavelet analysis and return plots give indications of containment versus exacerbation. Homogeneity or heterogeneity in the population response, uptick versus suppression, and worsening or improving trends are discernible, in part by plotting various time lags in three dimensions. The analysis of epidemic or pandemic progression with the techniques available for observed (noisy) complex data can aid decision making in the public health response.

biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.06.18.159202


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Understanding both the immunological processes providing specific immunity and potential immunopathology underlying the pathogenesis of this disease may provide valuable insights for potential therapeutic interventions. Here, we quantified SARS-CoV-2 specific immune responses in patients with different clinical courses. Compared to individuals with a mild clinical presentation, CD4+ T cell responses were qualitatively impaired in critically ill patients. Strikingly, however, in these patients the specific IgG antibody response was remarkably strong. The observed disparate T and B cell responses could be indicative of a deregulated immune response in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Critical Illness , COVID-19 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome