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Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Oct 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2258289


BACKGROUND: Nirmatrelvir/ritonavir, the first severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) protease inhibitor, reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) but has been associated with symptomatic rebound after therapy completion. METHODS: Six individuals with relapse of COVID-19 symptoms after treatment with nirmatrelvir/ritonavir, 2 individuals with rebound symptoms without prior antiviral therapy and 7 patients with acute Omicron infection (controls) were studied. Soluble biomarkers and serum SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein were measured. Nasal swabs positive for SARS-CoV-2 underwent viral isolation and targeted viral sequencing. SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike, anti-receptor-binding domain, and anti-nucleocapsid antibodies were measured. Surrogate viral neutralization tests against wild-type and Omicron spike protein, as well as T-cell stimulation assays, were performed. RESULTS: High levels of SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies were found in all participants. Anti-nucleocapsid IgG and Omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies increased in patients with rebound. Robust SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses were observed, higher in rebound compared with early acute COVID-19 patients. Inflammatory markers mostly decreased during rebound. Two patients sampled longitudinally demonstrated an increase in activated cytokine-producing CD4+ T cells against viral proteins. No characteristic resistance mutations were identified. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated by culture from 1 of 8 rebound patients; Polybrene addition increased this to 5 of 8. CONCLUSIONS: Nirmatrelvir/ritonavir treatment does not impede adaptive immune responses to SARS-CoV-2. Clinical rebound corresponds to development of a robust antibody and T-cell immune response, arguing against a high risk of disease progression. The presence of infectious virus supports the need for isolation and assessment of longer treatment courses. Clinical trials registration. NCT04401436.

Br J Haematol ; 199(5): 679-687, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2277554


Patients with severe aplastic anaemia (SAA) are often not vaccinated against viruses due to concerns of ineffective protective antibody response and potential for pathogenic global immune system activation, leading to relapse. We evaluated the impact of COVID-19 vaccination on haematological indices and disease status and characterized the humoural and cellular responses to vaccination in 50 SAA patients, who were previously treated with immunosuppressive therapy (IST). There was no significant difference in haemoglobin (p = 0.52), platelet count (p = 0.67), absolute lymphocyte (p = 0.42) and neutrophil (p = 0.98) counts prior to and after completion of vaccination series. Relapse after vaccination, defined as a progressive decline in counts requiring treatment, occurred in three patients (6%). Humoural response was detectable in 90% (28/31) of cases by reduction in an in-vitro Angiotensin II Converting Enzyme (ACE2) binding and neutralization assay, even in patients receiving ciclosporin (10/11, 90.1%). Comparison of spike-specific T-cell responses in 27 SAA patients and 10 control subjects revealed qualitatively similar CD4+ Th1-dominant responses to vaccination. There was no difference in CD4+ (p = 0.77) or CD8+ (p = 0.74) T-cell responses between patients on or off ciclosporin therapy at the time of vaccination. Our data highlight appropriate humoural and cellular responses in SAA previously treated with IST and true relapse after vaccination is rare.

Anemia, Aplastic , COVID-19 , Humans , Anemia, Aplastic/drug therapy , Cyclosporine/therapeutic use , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2 , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Recurrence , Immunity , Vaccination
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 7733, 2022 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2160214


An important consequence of infection with a SARS-CoV-2 variant is protective humoral immunity against other variants. However, the basis for such cross-protection at the molecular level is incompletely understood. Here, we characterized the repertoire and epitope specificity of antibodies elicited by infection with the Beta, Gamma and WA1 ancestral variants and assessed their cross-reactivity to these and the more recent Delta and Omicron variants. We developed a method to obtain immunoglobulin sequences with concurrent rapid production and functional assessment of monoclonal antibodies from hundreds of single B cells sorted by flow cytometry. Infection with any variant elicited similar cross-binding antibody responses exhibiting a conserved hierarchy of epitope immunodominance. Furthermore, convergent V gene usage and similar public B cell clones were elicited regardless of infecting variant. These convergent responses despite antigenic variation may account for the continued efficacy of vaccines based on a single ancestral variant.

COVID-19 , Immunoglobulin Variable Region , Humans , Epitopes/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Clone Cells , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics