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Allergy ; 2021 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1909311


BACKGROUND: The mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (Comirnaty, BioNTech/Pfizer) and the vaccine candidate CVnCoV (Curevac) each encode a stabilized spike protein of SARS-CoV2 as antigen but differ with respect to the nature of the mRNA (modified versus unmodified nucleotides) and the mRNA amount (30 µg versus 12 µg RNA). This study characterizes antisera elicited by these two vaccines in comparison to convalescent sera. METHODS: Sera from BNT162b2 vaccinated healthcare workers, and sera from participants of a phase I trial vaccinated with 2, 4, 6, 8, or 12 µg CVnCoV and convalescent sera from hospitalized patients were analyzed by ELISA, neutralization tests, surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and peptide arrays. RESULTS: BNT162b2-elicited sera and convalescent sera have a higher titer of spike-RBD-specific antibodies and neutralizing antibodies as compared to the CVnCoV-elicited sera. For all analyzed sera a reduction in binding and neutralizing antibodies was found for the lineage B.1.351 variant of concern. SPR analyses revealed that the CVnCoV-elicited sera have a lower fraction of slow-dissociating antibodies. Accordingly, the CVnCoV sera almost fail to compete with the spike-ACE2 interaction. The significance of common VOC mutations K417N, E484K, or N501Y focused on linear epitopes was analyzed using a peptide array approach. The peptide arrays showed a strong difference between convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited sera. Specifically, the linear epitope at position N501 was affected by the mutation and elucidates the escape of viral variants to antibodies against this linear epitope. CONCLUSION: These data reveal differences in titer, neutralizing capacity, and affinity of the antibodies between BNT162b2- and CVnCoV-elicited sera, which could contribute to the apparent differences in vaccine efficacy.

Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705787


In light of an increasing number of vaccinated and convalescent individuals, there is a major need for the development of robust methods for the quantification of neutralizing antibodies; although, a defined correlate of protection is still missing. Sera from hospitalized COVID-19 patients suffering or not suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) were comparatively analyzed by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) and pseudotype-based neutralization assays to quantify their neutralizing capacity. The two neutralization assays showed comparable data. In case of the non-ARDS sera, there was a distinct correlation between the data from the neutralization assays on the one hand, and enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA), as well as biophysical analyses, on the other hand. As such, surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based assays for quantification of binding antibodies or analysis of the stability of the antigen-antibody interaction and inhibition of syncytium formation, determined by cell fusion assays, were performed. In the case of ARDS sera, which are characterized by a significantly higher fraction of RBD-binding IgA antibodies, there is a clear correlation between the neutralization assays and the ELISA data. In contrast to this, a less clear correlation between the biophysical analyses on the one hand and ELISAs and neutralization assays on the other hand was observed, which might be explained by the heterogeneity of the antibodies. To conclude, for less complex immune sera-as in cases of non-ARDS sera-combinations of titer quantification by ELISA with inhibition of syncytium formation, SPR-based analysis of antibody binding, determination of the stability of the antigen-antibody complex, and competition of the RBD-ACE2 binding represent alternatives to the classic PRNT for analysis of the neutralizing potential of SARS-CoV-2-specific sera, without the requirement for a BSL3 facility.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Convalescence , Immune Sera/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests