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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20068858


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.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20071134


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.