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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22275460

ABSTRACT

Population-level immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is growing through vaccination as well as ongoing circulation. Given waning immunity and emergence of new variants, it is important to dynamically determine the risk of re-infection in the population. For estimating immune protection, neutralization titers are most informative, but these assays are difficult to conduct at a population level. Measurement of antibody levels can be implemented at high throughput, but has not been robustly validated as a correlate of protection. Here, we have developed a method that predicts neutralization and protection based on variant-specific antibody measurements to SARS-CoV-2 antigens. This approach allowed us to estimate population-immunity in a longitudinal cohort from France followed for up to 2 years. Participants with a single vaccination or immunity caused by infection only are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 or hospitalization due to SARS-CoV-2. While the median reduced risk to COVID-19 in participants with 3 vaccinations was 96%, the median reduced risk among participants with infection-acquired immunity only was 42%. The results presented here are consistent with data from vaccine-effectiveness studies indicating robustness of our approach. Our multiplex serological assay can be readily optimized and employed to study any new variant and provides a framework for development of an assay that would include protection estimates.

2.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22273175

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe protective immunity against Omicron following a BNT162b2 Pfizer booster dose among elderly is not well characterized. MethodsThirty-eight residents from three nursing homes were recruited for the study. Antibodies targeting the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 were measured with the S-Flow assay. Neutralizing activities in sera were measured as effective dilution 50% (ED50) with the S-Fuse assay using authentic isolates of Delta and Omicron. ResultsAmong the 38 elderly included in the study, with median (inter-quartile range, IQR) age of 88 (81-92) years, 30 (78.9%) had been previously infected. The ED50 of neutralization were lower against Omicron than Delta, and higher among convalescent compared to naive residents. During an Omicron epidemic affecting two of the three nursing homes in December 2021-January 2022, 75% (6/8) of naive residents got infected, compared to 25% (6/24) of convalescents (P=0.03). Antibody levels to Spike and ED50 of neutralization against Omicron after the BNT162b2 booster dose were lower in those with breakthrough infection (n=12) compared to those without (n=20): median of 1256 vs 2523 BAU/mL (P=0.02) and median ED50 of 234 vs 1298 (P=0.0004), respectively. ConclusionThis study confirmed the importance of receiving at least three antigenic exposures to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein for achieving satisfactory neutralizing antibody levels. In this population, protection against Omicron infection was increased in individuals who had been previously infected in addition to the three vaccine doses. Thus, a fourth antigenic exposure may be useful in the elderly population to prevent infection with Omicron, a variant known for its high escape immunity properties.

3.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22271545

ABSTRACT

ObjectivesHealthcare workers (HCWs) are at higher risk of contracting coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) than the general population. This study assessed the roles of various exposures and personal protective equipment (PPE) use on that risk for HCWs working in primary care, long-term-care facilities (LTCFs) or hospitals. MethodsWe conducted a matched case-control (1:1) study (10 April-9 July 2021). Cases (HCWs with confirmed COVID-19) and controls (HCWs without any COVID-19-positive test or symptoms) recruited by email were invited to complete an online questionnaire on their exposures and PPE use. Questions covered the 10 days preceding symptom onset for cases (or testing if asymptomatic) or inclusion for controls. ResultsA total of 4152 matched cases and controls were included. The multivariable conditional logistic regression analysis retained exposure to an infected person outside work (adjusted odds ratio, 19.9 [95% confidence intervaI, 12.4-31.9]), an infected colleague (2.26 [1.53-3.33]) or COVID-19 patients (2.37 [1.66-3.40]), as independent predictors of COVID-19 in HCWs, while partial or complete immunization was protective. Eye protection (0.57 [0.37-0.87]) and wearing a gown (0.58 [0.34-0.97]) during COVID-19 patient care were protective, while wearing an apron slightly increased the risk of infection (1.47 [1.00-2.18]). N95-respirator protection was comparable to that of surgical masks. Results were consistent across healthcare-facility categories. ConclusionsHCWs were more likely to get COVID-19 in their personal sphere than during occupational activities. Our results suggest that eye protection for HCWs during patient care should be actively promoted.

4.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21261243

ABSTRACT

Schools were closed extensively in 2020-2021 to counter COVID-19 spread, impacting students education and well-being. With highly contagious variants expanding in Europe, safe options to maintain schools open are urgently needed. We developed an agent-based model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in school. We used empirical contact data in a primary and a secondary school, and data from pilot screenings in 683 schools during the 2021 spring Alpha wave in France. We fitted the model to observed school prevalence to estimate the school-specific reproductive number and performed a cost-benefit analysis examining different intervention protocols. We estimated RAlpha=1.40 (95%CI 1.35-1.45) in the primary and RAlpha=1.46 (1.41-1.51) in the secondary school during the wave, higher than Rt estimated from community surveillance. Considering the Delta variant and vaccination coverage in Europe, we estimated RDelta=1.66 (1.60-1.71) and RDelta=1.10 (1.06-1.14) in the two settings, respectively. Under these conditions, weekly screening with 75% adherence would reduce cases by 34% (95%CI 32-36%) in the primary and 36% (35-39%) in the secondary school compared to symptom-based testing. Insufficient adherence was recorded in pilot screening (median [≤]53%). Regular screening would also reduce student-days lost up to 80% compared to reactive closure. Moderate vaccination coverage in students would still benefit from regular screening for additional control (23% case reduction with 50% vaccinated children). COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to pose a risk for school opening. Extending vaccination coverage in students, complemented by regular testing largely incentivizing adherence, are essential steps to keep schools open, especially under the threat of more contagious variants.

5.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21261285

ABSTRACT

BackgroundWe aimed to assess the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine against B.1.351 (beta) variant among residents of long-term care facilities (LCTFs) in eastern France. MethodsWe used routinely collected surveillance and COVID-19 vaccination data to conduct a retrospective cohort study of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 infection incidence and vaccine effectiveness among LCTFs residents in eastern France between 15 January and 19 May 2021. Data from secondary RT-PCR screening were used to identify B.1.351 variants. FindingsIncluded in our analysis were 378 residents from five LCTFs: 287 (76%) females, with median (IQR) age of 89 (83-92) years. Two B.1.351 outbreaks took place in LTCFs in which more than 70% of residents had received two doses of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine, which included 11 cases of severe disease and six deaths among those who had received two doses. Vaccine effectiveness (95% CI) seven days after the second dose of vaccine was 49% (14-69) against any infection with B.1.351 and 86% (67-94) against severe forms of COVID-19. In multivariable analysis, females were less likely to develop severe forms of disease (IRR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.20-0.63). InterpretationWe observed reduced vaccine effectiveness associated with B.1.351, as well as B.1.351 outbreaks in two LTCFs among individuals who had received two doses of vaccine. Our findings highlight the need to maintain SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in these high-risk settings beyond the current COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign, and advocate for a booster vaccine dose prior to the next winter season.

6.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21256823

ABSTRACT

Assessment of the kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is essential to predict protection against reinfection and durability of vaccine protection. Here, we longitudinally measured Spike (S) and Nucleocapsid (N)-specific antibodies in 1,309 healthcare workers (HCW) including 393 convalescent COVID-19 and 916 COVID-19 negative HCW up to 405 days. From M1 to M7-9 after infection, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies decreased moderately in convalescent HCW in a biphasic model, with men showing a slower decay of anti-N (p=0.02), and a faster decay of anti-S (p=0.0008) than women. At M11-13, anti-N antibodies dramatically decreased (half-life: 210 days) while anti-S stabilized (half-life: 630 days) at a median of 2.41 log Arbitrary Units (AU)/mL (Interquartile Range (IQR): 2.11 -2.75). One case of reinfection was recorded in convalescent HCW (0.47 per 100 person-years) versus 50 in COVID-19 negative HCW (10.11 per 100 person-years). Correlation with live-virus neutralization assay revealed that variants D614G and B.1.1.7, but not B.1.351, were sensitive to anti-S antibodies at 2.3 log AU/mL, while IgG [≥] 3 log AU/mL neutralized all three variants. After SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, anti-S levels reached 4 logs regardless of pre-vaccination IgG levels, type of vaccine, and number of doses. Our study demonstrates a long-term persistence of anti-S IgG antibodies that may protect against reinfection. By significantly increasing cross-neutralizing antibody titers, a single-dose vaccination strengthens protection against escape mutants.

7.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21252532

ABSTRACT

Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces a complex antibody response that varies by orders of magnitude between individuals and over time. Waning antibody levels lead to reduced sensitivity of serological diagnostic tests over time. This undermines the utility of serological surveillance as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic progresses into its second year. Here we develop a multiplex serological test for measuring antibodies of three isotypes (IgG, IgM, IgA) to five SARS-CoV-2 antigens (Spike (S), receptor binding domain (RBD), Nucleocapsid (N), Spike subunit 2, Membrane-Envelope fusion) and the Spike proteins of four seasonal coronaviruses. We measure antibody responses in several cohorts of French and Irish hospitalized patients and healthcare workers followed for up to eleven months after symptom onset. The data are analysed with a mathematical model of antibody kinetics to quantify the duration of antibody responses accounting for inter-individual variation. One year after symptoms, we estimate that 36% (95% range: 11%, 94%) of anti-S IgG remains, 31% (9%, 89%) anti-RBD IgG remains, and 7% (1%, 31%) anti-N IgG remains. Antibodies of the IgM isotype waned more rapidly, with 9% (2%, 32%) anti-RBD IgM remaining after one year. Antibodies of the IgA isotype also waned rapidly, with 10% (3%, 38%) anti-RBD IgA remaining after one year. Quantitative measurements of antibody responses were used to train machine learning algorithms for classification of previous infection and estimation of time since infection. The resulting diagnostic test classified previous infections with 99% specificity and 98% (95% confidence interval: 94%, 99%) sensitivity, with no evidence for declining sensitivity over the time scale considered. The diagnostic test also provided accurate classification of time since infection into intervals of 0 - 3 months, 3 - 6 months, and 6 - 12 months. Finally, we present a computational method for serological reconstruction of past SARS-CoV-2 transmission using the data from this test when applied to samples from a single cross-sectional sero-prevalence survey.

8.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21250475

ABSTRACT

Higher transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 in cold and dry weather conditions has been hypothesized since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but the level of epidemiological evidence remains low. During the first wave of the pandemic, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Canada and USA presented an early spread, a heavy COVID-19 burden, and low initial public health response until lockdowns. In a context when testing was limited, we calculated the basic reproduction number (R0) in 63 regions from the growth in regional death counts. After adjusting for population density, early spread of the epidemic, and age structure, temperature and humidity were negatively associated to SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility. A reduction of mean absolute humidity by 1g/m3 was associated with a 0.15-unit increase of R0. Below 10{degrees}C, a temperature reduction of 1{degrees}C was associated with a 0.16-unit increase of R0. Our results confirm a dependency of SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility to weather conditions in the absence of control measures during the first wave. The transition from summer-to winter-like conditions likely contributed to the intensification of the second wave in north-west hemisphere countries. Adjustments of the levels of social mobility restrictions need to account for increased SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility in winter conditions.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20230508

ABSTRACT

A large proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals remains asymptomatic. Little is known about the extent and quality of their antiviral humoral response. Here, we analyzed antibody functions in 52 asymptomatic infected individuals, 119 mild and 21 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. We measured anti-Spike antibody levels with the S-Flow assay and mapped SARS-CoV-2 Spike- and N-targeted regions by Luminex. Neutralization, complement deposition and Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC) were evaluated using replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 or reporter cell systems. We show that COVID-19 sera mediate complement deposition and kill infected cells by ADCC. Sera from asymptomatic individuals neutralize the virus, activate ADCC and trigger complement deposition. Antibody levels and activities are slightly lower in asymptomatic individuals. The different functions of the antibodies are correlated, independently of disease severity. Longitudinal samplings show that antibody functions follow similar kinetics of induction and contraction, with minor variations. Overall, asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection elicits polyfunctional antibodies neutralizing the virus and targeting infected cells. - Sera from convalescent COVID-19 patients activate the complement and kill infected cells by ADCC. - Asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals harbor polyfunctional antibodies. - Antibody levels and functions are slightly lower in asymptomatic individuals - The different antiviral activities of anti-Spike antibodies are correlated regardless of disease severity. - Functions of anti-Spike antibodies have similar kinetics of induction and contraction.

10.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20230466

ABSTRACT

The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 humoral response in infected individuals remains poorly characterized. Here, we performed a longitudinal study of sera from 308 RT-qPCR+ individuals with mild disease, collected at two time-points, up to 6 months post-onset of symptoms (POS). We performed two anti-S and one anti-N serology assays and quantified neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). At month 1 (M1), males, individuals > 50 years of age or with a body mass index (BMI) > 25 exhibited higher levels of antibodies. Antibody levels decreased over time. At M3-6, anti-S antibodies persisted in 99% of individuals while anti-N IgG were measurable in only 59% of individuals. The decline in anti-S and NAbs was faster in males than in females, independently of age and BMI. Our results show that some serology tests are less reliable overtime and suggest that the duration of protection after SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination will be different in women and men.

11.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20180851

ABSTRACT

The number of COVID-19 deaths is often used as a key indicator of SARS-CoV-2 epidemic size. However, heterogeneous burdens in nursing homes and variable reporting of deaths in elderly individuals can hamper comparisons of deaths and the number of infections associated with them across countries. Using age-specific death data from 45 countries, we find that relative differences in the number of deaths by age amongst individuals aged <65 years old are highly consistent across locations. Combining these data with data from 15 seroprevalence surveys we demonstrate how age-specific infection fatality ratios (IFRs) can be used to reconstruct infected population proportions. We find notable heterogeneity in overall IFR estimates as suggested by individual serological studies and observe that for most European countries the reported number of deaths amongst [≥]65s are significantly greater than expected, consistent with high infection attack rates experienced by nursing home populations in Europe. Age-specific COVID-19 death data in younger individuals can provide a robust indicator of population immunity.

12.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20140178

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe extent of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among pupils in primary schools and their families is unknown. MethodsBetween 28-30 April 2020, a retrospective cohort study was conducted among pupils, their parents and relatives, and staff of primary schools exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in February and March 2020 in a city north of Paris, France. Participants completed a questionnaire that covered sociodemographic information and history of recent symptoms. A blood sample was tested for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using a flow-cytometry-based assay. ResultsThe infection attack rate (IAR) was 45/510 (8.8%), 3/42 (7.1%), 1/28 (3.6%), 76/641 (11.9%) and 14/119 (11.8%) among primary school pupils, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents, and relatives, respectively (P = 0.29). Prior to school closure on February 14, three SARS-CoV-2 infected pupils attended three separate schools with no secondary cases in the following 14 days among pupils, teachers and non-teaching staff of the same schools. Familial clustering of cases was documented by the high proportion of antibodies among parents and relatives of infected pupils (36/59 = 61.0% and 4/9 = 44.4%, respectively). In children, disease manifestations were mild, and 24/58 (41.4%) of infected children were asymptomatic. InterpretationIn young children, SARS-CoV-2 infection was largely mild or asymptomatic and there was no evidence of onwards transmission from children in the school setting.

13.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20101832

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe serologic response of individuals with mild forms of SARS-CoV-2 infection is poorly characterized. MethodsHospital staff who had recovered from mild forms of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using two assays: a rapid immunodiagnostic test (99.4% specificity) and the S-Flow assay ([~]99% specificity).The neutralizing activity of the sera was tested with a pseudovirus-based assay. ResultsOf 162 hospital staff who participated in the investigation, 160 reported SARS-CoV-2 infection that had not required hospital admission and were included in these analyses. The median time from symptom onset to blood sample collection was 24 days (IQR: 21-28, range 13-39). The rapid immunodiagnostic test detected antibodies in 153 (95.6%) of the samples and the S-Flow assay in 159 (99.4%), failing to detect antibodies in one sample collected 18 days after symptom onset (the rapid test did not detect antibodies in that patient). Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) were detected in 79%, 92% and 98% of samples collected 13-20, 21-27 and 28-41 days after symptom onset, respectively (P=0.02). ConclusionAntibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in virtually all hospital staff sampled from 13 days after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. This finding supports the use of serologic testing for the diagnosis of individuals who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. The neutralizing activity of the antibodies increased overtime. Future studies will help assess the persistence of the humoral response and its associated neutralization capacity in recovered patients.

14.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20068858

ABSTRACT

It is of paramount importance to evaluate the prevalence of both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and their antibody response profile. Here, we performed a pilot study to assess the levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in samples taken from 491 pre-epidemic individuals, 51 patients from Hopital Bichat (Paris), 209 pauci-symptomatic individuals in the French Oise region and 200 contemporary Oise blood donors. Two in-house ELISA assays, that recognize the full-length nucleoprotein (N) or trimeric Spike (S) ectodomain were implemented. We also developed two novel assays: the S-Flow assay, which is based on the recognition of S at the cell surface by flow-cytometry, and the LIPS assay that recognizes diverse antigens (including S1 or N C-terminal domain) by immunoprecipitation. Overall, the results obtained with the four assays were similar, with differences in sensitivity that can be attributed to the technique and the antigen in use. High antibody titers were associated with neutralisation activity, assessed using infectious SARS-CoV-2 or lentiviral-S pseudotypes. In hospitalized patients, seroconversion and neutralisation occurred on 5-14 days post symptom onset, confirming previous studies. Seropositivity was detected in 29% of pauci-symptomatic individuals within 15 days post-symptoms and 3 % of blood of healthy donors collected in the area of a cluster of COVID cases. Altogether, our assays allow for a broad evaluation of SARS-CoV2 seroprevalence and antibody profiling in different population subsets.

15.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20072413

ABSTRACT

France has been heavily affected by the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic and went into lockdown on the 17th March 2020. Using models applied to hospital and death data, we estimate the impact of the lockdown and current population immunity. We find 2.6% of infected individuals are hospitalized and 0.53% die, ranging from 0.001% in those <20y to 8.3% in those >80y. Across all ages, men are more likely to be hospitalized, enter intensive care, and die than women. The lockdown reduced the reproductive number from 3.3 to 0.5 (84% reduction). By 11 May, when interventions are scheduled to be eased, we project 3.7 million (range: 2.3-6.7) people, 5.7% of the population, will have been infected. Population immunity appears insufficient to avoid a second wave if all control measures are released at the end of the lockdown.

16.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20071134

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe Oise department in France has been heavily affected by COVID-19 in early 2020. MethodsBetween 30 March and 4 April 2020, we conducted a retrospective closed cohort study among pupils, their parents and siblings, as well as teachers and non-teaching staff of a high-school located in Oise. Participants completed a questionnaire that covered history of fever and/or respiratory symptoms since 13 January 2020 and had blood tested for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The infection attack rate (IAR) was defined as the proportion of participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection based on antibody detection. Blood samples from two blood donor centres collected between 23 and 27 March 2020 in the Oise department were also tested for presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. FindingsOf the 661 participants (median age: 37 years), 171 participants had anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The overall IAR was 25.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 22.6-29.4), and the infection fatality rate was 0% (one-sided 97.5% CI = 0 - 2.1). Nine of the ten participants hospitalised since mid-January were in the infected group, giving a hospitalisation rate of 5.3% (95% CI = 2.4 -9.8). Anosmia and ageusia had high positive predictive values for SARS-CoV-2 infection (84.7% and 88.1%, respectively). Smokers had a lower IAR compared to non-smokers (7.2% versus 28.0%, P <0.001). The proportion of infected individuals who had no symptoms during the study period was 17.0% (95% CI = - 23.4). The proportion of donors with anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in two nearby blood banks of the Oise department was 3.0% (95% CI = 1.1 - 6.4). InterpretationThe relatively low IAR observed in an area where SARS-CoV-2 actively circulated weeks before confinement measures indicates that establishing herd immunity will take time, and that lifting these measures in France will be long and complex. FundingInstitut Pasteur, CNRS, Universite de Paris, Sante publique France, Labex IBEID (ANR-10-LABX-62-IBEID), REACTing, EU grant Recover, INCEPTION project (PIA/ANR-16-CONV-0005). Research in contextO_ST_ABSEvidence before the studyC_ST_ABSThe first COVID-19 cases in France were reported on 24 January 2020. Substantial transmission has occurred since then, with the Oise department, north of Paris, one of the heaviest affected areas in the early stages of the epidemic in France. As of 13 April 2020, 98,076 cases had been diagnosed in France, including 5,379 deaths. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with COVID-19 have been widely reported, but this has largely been centred on cases requiring medical care. What remains unclear at this stage is the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 infections may be asymptomatic or present as subclinical, non-specific symptoms. While extensive contact tracing has identified asymptomatic infections using RT-PCR testing, serologic detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is needed to determine the real infection attack rate and the proportion of all infections that are asymptomatic or subclinical. Added value of this studyUsing a combination of serologic assays with high sensitivity and specificity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, we conducted a retrospective closed cohort study. In a high school linked to a cluster of COVID-19 in the Oise department, we showed an overall infection attack rate (IAR) of 40.9% in the high school group, and 10.9% in parents and siblings of the pupils. The proportion of infected individuals who had no symptoms during the study period was 17.0%. Implications of all of the available evidenceThe relatively low IAR in this area where SARS-CoV-2 actively circulated before confinement measures were introduced indicates that establishing herd immunity will take time, and that the lifting of these measures in France will be long and complex.

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