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1.
SSRN; 2022.
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-334503

ABSTRACT

Evolving SARS-CoV-2 variants and changing levels of pre-existing immunity require re-evaluation of rapid antigen test performance. In hospital employees in Berlin, Germany, from late 2020 to early 2022, we found decreasing rapid antigen test sensitivity over time, from 80% to 67%, despite a 5·6 fold increase in median viral RNA concentrations in symptomatic employees early in their infection course. These changes were observed in parallel with a sharp increase of the percentage of employees who were at least doubly vaccinated or recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Based on statistical analyses of our employee testing data set, an evaluation of antigen test performance on supernatants from SARS-CoV-2 infected cells, and rapid antigen test performance data from other studies, we hypothesize that the observed reduction in clinical rapid test sensitivity, despite higher SARS-CoV-2 RNA loads, is due to increased population immunity resulting from vaccination and prior infection. Funding: Parts of this work were supported by grants from the Berlin University Alliance (Corona Virus Pre-Exploration Project). The study was further supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research through Forschungsnetzwerk der Universitätsmedizin zu COVID-19, (COVIM, FKZ: 01KX2021) to JS, CD, VMC;NIAID-NIH CEIRS contract HHSN272201400008C to TCJ;NaFoUniMedCovid19 (FKZ: 01KX2021) B-FAST to JS;RAPID (01KI1723A) to CD;VARIPath (01KI2021) to VMC, as well as the European Union via Project ReCoVer (grant number GA101003589) to CD. VMC is supported by the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) Charité Clinician Scientist program.

3.
SSRN; 2022.
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-332348

ABSTRACT

Background: Access to RT-PCR testing, the gold standard for SARS-CoV-2 detection, is limited throughout the world, due to restricted resources, available infrastructure, and high costs. Antigen-detecting, rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) overcome some of these barriers, but independent clinical validations in settings of intended use are scarce. To inform the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergency use listing (EUL) procedure and ensure affordable, high-quality Ag-RDTs, we assessed the performance and ease-of-use of the SureStatus for SARS-CoV-2. Methods: This prospective, multi-center diagnostic accuracy study recruited unvaccinated participants with presumed SARS-CoV-2 infection in India and Germany from Dec 2019 to Mar 2021 when predominantly alpha (B.1.1.7) variant was circulating. Paired swabs were performed for (i) routine clinical RT-PCR testing (sampling was either nasopharyngeal (NP), or NP/OP combined) and (ii) for Ag-RDT (sampling was nasopharyngeal (NP)). Performance of the Ag-RDT was compared to RT-PCR overall, and according to predefined subgroups e.g., cycle threshold (Ct)-value, symptoms, and days from symptom onset. To understand usability, a System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire and ease-of-use (EoU) assessment were performed. Findings: A total of 1119 participants were included in the analysis of whom 205 (18·3%) were RT-PCR positive. SureStatus detected 169 out of 205 RT-PCR positive participants, reporting a sensitivity of 82·4% (95% CI: 76·6%-87·1%) and a specificity of 98·5% (95% CI: 97·4%-99·1%). In the first 7 days post symptom onset sensitivity was 90·7% (95% CI: 83·5%-94·9%). The test was characterized as easy to use (SUS: 85/100) and considered suitable for point-of-care settings although quality concerns were raised due to visibly contaminated packaging of swabs included in the test kits. Interpretation: The SureStatus diagnostic test can be considered a reliable test in the first week of SARS-CoV-2 infection with high sensitivity in combination with excellent usability.

4.
Front Immunol ; 13: 840126, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775673

ABSTRACT

Morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 is increased in patients with inborn errors of immunity (IEI). Age and comorbidities and also impaired type I interferon immunity were identified as relevant risk factors. In patients with primary antibody deficiency (PAD) and lack of specific humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2, clinical disease outcome is very heterogeneous. Despite extensive clinical reports, underlying immunological mechanisms are poorly characterized and levels of T cellular and innate immunity in severe cases remain to be determined. In the present study, we report clinical and immunological findings of 5 PAD patients with severe and fatal COVID-19 and undetectable specific humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Reactive T cells to SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and nucleocapsid (NCAP) peptide pools were analyzed comparatively by flow cytometry in PAD patients, convalescents and naïve healthy individuals. All examined PAD patients developed a robust T cell response. The presence of polyfunctional cytokine producing activated CD4+ T cells indicates a memory-like phenotype. An analysis of innate immune response revealed elevated CD169 (SIGLEC1) expression on monocytes, a surrogate marker for type I interferon response, and presence of type I interferon autoantibodies was excluded. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detectable in peripheral blood in three severe COVID-19 patients with PAD. Viral clearance in blood was observed after treatment with COVID-19 convalescent plasma/monoclonal antibody administration. However, prolonged mucosal viral shedding was observed in all patients (median 67 days) with maximum duration of 127 days. PAD patients without specific humoral SARS-CoV-2 immunity may suffer from severe or fatal COVID-19 despite robust T cell and normal innate immune response. Intensified monitoring for long persistence of SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding and (prophylactic) convalescent plasma/specific IgG as beneficial treatment option in severe cases with RNAemia should be considered in seronegative PAD patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Immunization, Passive , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes
5.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-331621

ABSTRACT

Post-acute lung sequelae of COVID-19 are challenging many survivors across the world, yet the mechanisms behind are poorly understood. Our results delineate an inflammatory cascade of events occurring along disease progression within fibrovascular niches. It is initiated by endothelial dysfunction, followed by heme scavenging of CD163+ macrophages and production of CCL18. This chemokine synergizes with local CCL21 upregulation to influence the stromal composition favoring endothelial to mesenchymal transition. The local immune response is further modulated via recruitment of CCR7+ T cells into the expanding fibrovascular niche and imprinting an exhausted, T follicular helper like phenotype in these cells. Eventually, this culminates in the formation of tertiary lymphoid structures, further perpetuating chronic inflammation. Thus, our work presents misdirected immune-stromal interaction mechanisms promoting a self-sustained and non-resolving local immune response that extends beyond active viral infection and leads to profound tissue repurposing and chronic inflammation.

6.
Insights Imaging ; 13(1): 61, 2022 Mar 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765463

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, computed tomography (CT) has become widely used in patients with suspected or known coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This prospective observational study in 28 invasively ventilated and 18 non-invasively ventilated patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 contamination aims at investigating SARS-CoV-2 contamination of CT scanner surfaces and its infectiousness. METHODS: Swab sampling of the CT table and gantry before and after CT examinations was performed. Additionally, the CT ventilation system air grid was wiped off after each examination. Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2 RNA (ribonucleic acid) and viral cell culture were performed in the virology core lab. RESULTS: After examination of non-invasively ventilated or non-ventilated patients, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in 11.1% (4/36) on patient near surfaces (CT table and gantry) and in 16.7% (3/18) on the CT air grid respectively after examination of invasively ventilated patients in 5.4% (3/56) on CT table and gantry and 7.1% (2/28) on the CT air grid. Surface contamination was more common in non-invasively ventilated or non-ventilated patients with a high viral load who were actively coughing. RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) was high (35.96-39.31) in all positive samples and no positive viral cell culture was found. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that CT scanner surface contamination with SARS-CoV-2 is considerable and more common after examination of non-invasively ventilated or non-ventilated patients compared to invasively ventilated patients. However, no viral cell culture positivity was found, hence the infectious potential seems low.

7.
Ann Rheum Dis ; 2022 Mar 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741593

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of methotrexate (MTX) and its discontinuation on the humoral immune response after COVID-19 vaccination in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRD). METHODS: In this retrospective study, neutralising SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were measured after second vaccination in 64 patients with AIRD on MTX therapy, 31 of whom temporarily paused medication without a fixed regimen. The control group consisted of 21 patients with AIRD without immunosuppressive medication. RESULTS: Patients on MTX showed a significantly lower mean antibody response compared with patients with AIRD without immunosuppressive therapy (71.8% vs 92.4%, p<0.001). For patients taking MTX, age correlated negatively with immune response (r=-0.49; p<0.001). All nine patients with antibody levels below the cut-off were older than 60 years. Patients who held MTX during at least one vaccination showed significantly higher mean neutralising antibody levels after second vaccination, compared with patients who continued MTX therapy during both vaccinations (83.1% vs 61.2%, p=0.001). This effect was particularly pronounced in patients older than 60 years (80.8% vs 51.9%, p=0.001). The impact of the time period after vaccination was greater than of the time before vaccination with the critical cut-off being 10 days. CONCLUSION: MTX reduces the immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in an age-dependent manner. Our data further suggest that holding MTX for at least 10 days after vaccination significantly improves the antibody response in patients over 60 years of age.

8.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312513

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the ACE2 transmembrane peptidase as essential cellular entry receptor. Several studies have suggested abundant ACE2 expression in the human lung, inferring strong permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 infection with resultant alveolar damage and lung injury. Against this expectation, we provide evidence that ACE2 expression must be considered scarce, thereby limiting SARS-CoV-2 propagation in the human alveolus. Instead, spectral imaging of ex vivo infected human lungs and COVID-19 autopsy samples depicted that alveolar macrophages were frequently positive for SARS-CoV-2, indicating viral phagocytosis. Single-cell transcriptomics of SARS-CoV-2 infected human lung tissue further revealed strong inflammatory and anti-viral activation responses in macrophages and monocytes, comparable to those induced by MERS-CoV, but with virus-specific gene expression profiles. Collectively, our findings indicate that severe lung injury in COVID-19 likely results from an overwhelming immune activation rather than direct viral damage of the alveolar compartment.Funding: ACH, LES, SH were supported by Berlin University Alliance GC2 Global Health (Corona Virus Pre-Exploration Project). ACH, SH, TW and CD were supported by BMBF (RAPID) and ACH, SH by BMBF (alvBarriereCOVID-19). KH, LB, SL, SH, CD, TW, ACH were funded by BMBF (NFN-COVID 19, Organo-Strat). KH, NS, LES, MW, SH, ADG, CD, TW and ACH were supported by DFG (SFB-TR 84). ACH was supported by BIH, Charite 3R, and Charité-Zeiss MultiDim. KH was supported by BMBF (Camo-COVID-19). MW, NS and SH was supported by BMBF (PROVID). MW and NS was supported by BIH and BMBF (SYMPATH, CAPSyS, NAPKON). BO and DB were funded through the BIH Clinical Single Cell Bioinformatics Pipeline. LB was supported by the BMBF (CoIMMUNE), the DFG (KFO 342) and the IZKF of the Medical Faculty of the WWU. Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.Ethical Approval: The study was approved by the ethics committee at the Charité clinic (projects EA2/079/13) and Ärztekammer Westfalen-Lippe and of the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität (AZ: 2016-265-f-S). Written informed consent was obtained from all patients.

9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-323893

ABSTRACT

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated again the global threat posed by emerging zoonotic coronaviruses. During the past two decades alone, humans have experienced the emergence of several coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV in 2003, MERS-CoV in 2012, and SARS-CoV-2 in 2019. To date, MERS-CoV has been detected in 27 countries, with a case fatality ratio of approximately 34.5 %. Similar to other coronaviruses, MERS-CoV presumably originated from bats;however, the main reservoir and primary source of human infections are dromedary camels. Other species within the Camelidae family, such as Bactrian camels, alpacas, and llamas, seem to be susceptible to the infection as well, although to a lesser extent. In contrast, susceptibility studies on sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, chickens, and horses obtained divergent results. In the present study, we tested nasal swabs and/or sera from 55 sheep, 45 goats, and 52 cattle, collected at the largest livestock market in the United Arab Emirates, where dromedaries are also traded, for the presence of MERS-CoV nucleic acid by RT-qPCR, and for specific antibodies by immunofluorescence assay (IFA). All sera were negative for MERS-CoV-reactive antibodies, but the nasal swab of one sheep (1.8 %) was positive for MERS-CoV nucleic acid. Next generation sequencing (NGS) of the complete N gene of the sheep-derived MERS-CoV revealed >99 % nucleotide identity to MERS-CoV sequences of five dromedaries in nearby pens and to three reference sequences. The NGS sequence of the sheep-derived MERS-CoV was confirmed by conventional RT-PCR of a part of the N gene and subsequent Sanger sequencing. All MERS-CoV sequences clustered within clade B, lineage 5. In conclusion, our study shows that non-camelid livestock, such as sheep, goats, and cattle do not play a major role in MERS-CoV epidemiology. The one sheep that tested positive most likely reflects an accidental viral spillover event from infected dromedaries in nearby pens.

10.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322348

ABSTRACT

In regions lacking genomic data, analysis of sequences from the early stages of an outbreak can provide important insights into the diversity of pathogens present. Following the detection of the first imported case of COVID-19 in the Northern sector of Ghana on 13th March 2020, we have now molecularly characterized and phylogenetically analysed sequences including three (3) complete genomes of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) isolated from nine (9) patients observed in Ghana. Eight (8) of these patients reported with a recent history of foreign travel and one (1) with no history of foreign travel. We performed high throughput sequencing for 9 samples following the determination of high concentration of viral RNA. In addition, we estimated the potential impact that long distance transportation of samples to testing centres may have on sequencing outcomes. Here, two samples that were closest in terms of viral RNA concentration but transported from sites which are over 400km apart were assessed. All sequences were compared to previous sequences from Ghana and representative sequences from regions where our patients had previously travelled. Complete genomes were obtained for three (3) sequences and with another near complete genome with a coverage of 95.6%. Sequences with coverage in excess of 80% were found to belong to three lineages namely A, B.1 and B.2. Our sequences clustered in two different clades with the majority falling within a clade composed of sequences from sub-Saharan Africa. Less RNA fragmentation was seen in sample KATH23 which was collected 9km compared with sample TTH6 which was collected and transported over a distance of 400km to the testing site. The clustering of several sequences from sub-Saharan Africa suggests regional circulation of the viruses in the subregion. Importantly, there may be the need to decentralize testing sites and build more capacity across Africa to boost the sequencing output of the subregion.

11.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-320953

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) can cause severe pneumonia in humans. The virus is enzootic in dromedary camels across the Middle East and Africa. It is acquired through animal contact and undergoes limited onward transmission particularly in hospitals. Because of this initial potential for human-to-human transmission, we monitor the virus for phenotypic changes related to its pandemic potential. Potential phenotypic changes have been suspected since the year 2015, when a novel recombinant clade (MERS-CoV lineage 5) caused large nosocomial outbreaks in Saudi Arabia and South Korea that effectively swept other, hitherto co-circulating viral lineages. To this day, lineage 5 remains the only circulating MERS-CoV lineage on the Arabian Peninsula. In spite of available sequence data, no studies of viral phenotype have been carried out to date. Here we performed a comprehensive in-vitro and ex-vivo comparison of live virus isolates taken in Saudi Arabia immediately before and after the shift toward lineage 5. We characterized seven isolates representing the recombination-parental lineage 3, eight isolates representing parental lineage 4, as well as eight isolates representing lineage 5. Replication of lineage 5 viruses is significantly increased over isolates from parental lineages in cell culture and ex-vivo lung models. Transcriptional profiling by real-time RT-PCR shows that several key immune genes (IFNb1, CCL5, IFNL1) are significantly less induced in lung cells infected with lineage 5 MERS-CoV compared to parental strains. In IFN receptor knock out cells, as well as under chemical inhibition of IFN signalling, the differences in replication level between lineage 5 and parental lineages are reduced, suggesting that phenotypic differences may be determined by IFN antagonism. Concordantly, lineage 5 shows increased resilience against interferon (IFN) pre-treatment of Calu-3 cells and maintains a 10-fold higher replication level under low and high concentrations of IFN. Reduced immune activation combined with enhanced virus replication and IFN resilience may explain the dominance of lineage 5 on the Arabian Peninsula. This phenotypic difference is highly relevant with regard to pandemic potential, and has remained undiscovered in spite of viral sequence surveillance.

12.
J Health Monit ; 5(Suppl 5): 2-16, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687796

ABSTRACT

At a regional and local level, the COVID-19 pandemic has not spread out uniformly and some German municipalities have been particularly affected. The seroepidemiological data from these areas helps estimate the proportion of the population that has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (seroprevalence), as well as the number of undetected infections and asymptomatic cases. In four municipalities which were especially affected, 2,000 participants will be tested for an active SARS-CoV-2 infection (oropharyngeal swab) or a past infection (blood specimen IgG antibody test). Participants will also be asked to fill out a short written questionnaire at study centres and complete a follow-up questionnaire either online or by telephone, including information on issues such as possible exposure, susceptability, symptoms and medical history. The CORONA-MONITORING lokal study will allow to determine the proportion of the population with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in four particularly affected locations. This study will increase the accuracy of estimates regarding the scope of the epidemic, help determine risk and protective factors for an infection and therefore also identify especially exposed groups and, as such, it will be crucial towards planning of prevention measures.

13.
J Immunol ; 208(5): 1001-1005, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674946

ABSTRACT

Advanced age is a main risk factor for severe COVID-19. However, low vaccination efficacy and accelerated waning immunity have been reported in this age group. To elucidate age-related differences in immunogenicity, we analyzed human cellular, serological, and salivary SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein-specific immune responses to the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine in old (69-92 y) and middle-aged (24-57 y) vaccinees compared with natural infection (COVID-19 convalescents, 21-55 y of age). Serological humoral responses to vaccination excee-ded those of convalescents, but salivary anti-spike subunit 1 (S1) IgA and neutralizing capacity were less durable in vaccinees. In old vaccinees, we observed that pre-existing spike-specific CD4+ T cells are associated with efficient induction of anti-S1 IgG and neutralizing capacity in serum but not saliva. Our results suggest pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive CD4+ T cells as a predictor of an efficient COVID-19 vaccine-induced humoral immune response in old individuals.


Subject(s)
Aging/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Nursing Homes , Saliva/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination , Young Adult
14.
Science ; 375(6582): 782-787, 2022 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1650668

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Beta variant of concern (VOC) resists neutralization by major classes of antibodies from COVID-19 patients and vaccinated individuals. In this study, serum of Beta-infected patients revealed reduced cross-neutralization of wild-type virus. From these patients, we isolated Beta-specific and cross-reactive receptor-binding domain (RBD) antibodies. The Beta-specificity results from recruitment of VOC-specific clonotypes and accommodation of mutations present in Beta and Omicron into a major antibody class that is normally sensitive to these mutations. The Beta-elicited cross-reactive antibodies share genetic and structural features with wild type-elicited antibodies, including a public VH1-58 clonotype that targets the RBD ridge. These findings advance our understanding of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 shaped by antigenic drift, with implications for design of next-generation vaccines and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
15.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262656, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638777

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, requires reliable diagnostic methods to track the circulation of this virus. Following the development of RT-qPCR methods to meet this diagnostic need in January 2020, it became clear from interlaboratory studies that the reported Ct values obtained for the different laboratories showed high variability. Despite this the Ct values were explored as a quantitative cut off to aid clinical decisions based on viral load. Consequently, there was a need to introduce standards to support estimation of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in diagnostic specimens. In a collaborative study, INSTAND established two reference materials (RMs) containing heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV-2 RNA loads of ~107 copies/mL (RM 1) and ~106 copies/mL (RM 2), respectively. Quantification was performed by RT-qPCR using synthetic SARS-CoV-2 RNA standards and digital PCR. Between November 2020 and February 2021, German laboratories were invited to use the two RMs to anchor their Ct values measured in routine diagnostic specimens, with the Ct values of the two RMs. A total of 305 laboratories in Germany were supplied with RM 1 and RM 2. The laboratories were requested to report their measured Ct values together with details on the PCR method they used to INSTAND. This resultant 1,109 data sets were differentiated by test system and targeted gene region. Our findings demonstrate that an indispensable prerequisite for linking Ct values to SARS-CoV-2 viral loads is that they are treated as being unique to an individual laboratory. For this reason, clinical guidance based on viral loads should not cite Ct values. The RMs described were a suitable tool to determine the specific laboratory Ct for a given viral load. Furthermore, as Ct values can also vary between runs when using the same instrument, such RMs could be used as run controls to ensure reproducibility of the quantitative measurements.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genes, Viral , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Reproducibility of Results
16.
Nature ; 600(7888): 295-301, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626235

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes COVID-19. Given its acute and often self-limiting course, it is likely that components of the innate immune system play a central part in controlling virus replication and determining clinical outcome. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with notable activity against a broad range of viruses, including RNA viruses1,2. NK cell function may be altered during COVID-19 despite increased representation of NK cells with an activated and adaptive phenotype3,4. Here we show that a decline in viral load in COVID-19 correlates with NK cell status and that NK cells can control SARS-CoV-2 replication by recognizing infected target cells. In severe COVID-19, NK cells show defects in virus control, cytokine production and cell-mediated cytotoxicity despite high expression of cytotoxic effector molecules. Single-cell RNA sequencing of NK cells over the time course of the COVID-19 disease spectrum reveals a distinct gene expression signature. Transcriptional networks of interferon-driven NK cell activation are superimposed by a dominant transforming growth factor-ß (TGFß) response signature, with reduced expression of genes related to cell-cell adhesion, granule exocytosis and cell-mediated cytotoxicity. In severe COVID-19, serum levels of TGFß peak during the first two weeks of infection, and serum obtained from these patients severely inhibits NK cell function in a TGFß-dependent manner. Our data reveal that an untimely production of TGFß is a hallmark of severe COVID-19 and may inhibit NK cell function and early control of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transforming Growth Factor beta/immunology , Atlases as Topic , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Influenza, Human/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , RNA-Seq , Single-Cell Analysis , Time Factors , Transforming Growth Factor beta/blood , Viral Load/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology
18.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(11): 1255-1265, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594095

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Heterologous vaccine regimens have been widely discussed as a way to mitigate intermittent supply shortages and to improve immunogenicity and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. We aimed to assess the reactogenicity and immunogenicity of heterologous immunisations with ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNtech, Mainz, Germany) compared with homologous BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 nCov-19 immunisation. METHODS: This is an interim analysis of a prospective observational cohort study enrolling health-care workers in Berlin (Germany) who received either homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 or heterologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 vaccination with a 10-12-week vaccine interval or homologous BNT162b2 vaccination with a 3-week vaccine interval. We assessed reactogenicity after the first and second vaccination by use of electronic questionnaires on days 1, 3, 5, and 7. Immunogenicity was measured by the presence of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies (full spike-IgG, S1-IgG, and RBD-IgG), by an RBD-ACE2 binding inhibition assay (surrogate SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralisation test), a pseudovirus neutralisation assay against two variants of concerns (alpha [B.1.1.7] and beta [B.1.351]), and anti-S1-IgG avidity. T-cell reactivity was measured by IFN-γ release assay. FINDINGS: Between Dec 27, 2020, and June 14, 2021, 380 participants were enrolled in the study, with 174 receiving homologous BNT162b2 vaccination, 38 receiving homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination, and 104 receiving ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 vaccination. Systemic symptoms were reported by 103 (65%, 95% CI 57·1-71·8) of 159 recipients of homologous BNT162b2, 14 (39%, 24·8-55·1) of 36 recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19, and 51 (49%, 39·6-58·5) of 104 recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 after the booster immunisation. Median anti-RBD IgG levels 3 weeks after boost immunisation were 5·4 signal to cutoff ratio (S/co; IQR 4·8-5·9) in recipients of homologous BNT162b2, 4·9 S/co (4·3-5·6) in recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19, and 5·6 S/co (5·1-6·1) in recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19- BNT162b2. Geometric mean of 50% inhibitory dose against alpha and beta variants were highest in recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 (956·6, 95% CI 835·6-1095, against alpha and 417·1, 349·3-498·2, against beta) compared with those in recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (212·5, 131·2-344·4, against alpha and 48·5, 28·4-82·8, against beta; both p<0·0001) or homologous BNT162b2 (369·2, 310·7-438·6, against alpha and 72·4, 60·5-86·5, against beta; both p<0·0001). SARS-CoV-2 S1 T-cell reactivity 3 weeks after boost immunisation was highest in recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 (median IFN-γ concentration 4762 mIU/mL, IQR 2723-8403) compared with that in recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (1061 mIU/mL, 599-2274, p<0·0001) and homologous BNT162b2 (2026 mIU/mL, 1459-4621, p=0·0008) vaccination. INTERPRETATION: The heterologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 immunisation with 10-12-week interval, recommended in Germany, is well tolerated and improves immunogenicity compared with homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination with 10-12-week interval and BNT162b2 vaccination with 3-week interval. Heterologous prime-boost immunisation strategies for COVID-19 might be generally applicable. FUNDING: Forschungsnetzwerk der Universitätsmedizin zu COVID-19, the German Ministry of Education and Research, Zalando SE.


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19 , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/prevention & control , Germany , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Neutralization Tests , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
19.
Nature ; 602(7896): 307-313, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585832

ABSTRACT

Emerging variants of concern (VOCs) are driving the COVID-19 pandemic1,2. Experimental assessments of replication and transmission of major VOCs and progenitors are needed to understand the mechanisms of replication and transmission of VOCs3. Here we show that the spike protein (S) from Alpha (also known as B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) VOCs had a greater affinity towards the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor than that of the progenitor variant S(D614G) in vitro. Progenitor variant virus expressing S(D614G) (wt-S614G) and the Alpha variant showed similar replication kinetics in human nasal airway epithelial cultures, whereas the Beta variant was outcompeted by both. In vivo, competition experiments showed a clear fitness advantage of Alpha over wt-S614G in ferrets and two mouse models-the substitutions in S were major drivers of the fitness advantage. In hamsters, which support high viral replication levels, Alpha and wt-S614G showed similar fitness. By contrast, Beta was outcompeted by Alpha and wt-S614G in hamsters and in mice expressing human ACE2. Our study highlights the importance of using multiple models to characterize fitness of VOCs and demonstrates that Alpha is adapted for replication in the upper respiratory tract and shows enhanced transmission in vivo in restrictive models, whereas Beta does not overcome Alpha or wt-S614G in naive animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Animals, Laboratory/virology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virulence/genetics
20.
EBioMedicine ; 75: 103774, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587927

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) for SARS-CoV-2 are important diagnostic tools. We assessed clinical performance and ease-of-use of seven Ag-RDTs in a prospective, manufacturer-independent, multi-centre cross-sectional diagnostic accuracy study to inform global decision makers. METHODS: Unvaccinated participants suspected of a first SARS-CoV-2 infection were recruited at six sites (Germany, Brazil). Ag-RDTs were evaluated sequentially, with collection of paired swabs for routine reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing and Ag-RDT testing. Performance was compared to RT-PCR overall and in sub-group analyses (viral load, symptoms, symptoms duration). To understandusability a System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire and ease-of-use (EoU) assessment were performed. FINDINGS: 7471 participants were included in the analysis. Sensitivities across Ag-RDTs ranged from 70·4%-90·1%, specificities were above 97·2% for all Ag-RDTs but one (93·1%).Ag-RDTs, Mologic, Bionote, Standard Q, showed diagnostic accuracy in line with WHO targets (> 80% sensitivity, > 97% specificity). All tests showed high sensitivity in the first three days after symptom onset (≥87·1%) and in individuals with viral loads≥ 6 log10SARS-CoV2 RNA copies/mL (≥ 88·7%). Usability varied, with Rapigen, Bionote and Standard Q reaching very good scores; 90, 88 and 84/100, respectively. INTERPRETATION: Variability in test performance is partially explained by variable viral loads in population evaluated over the course of the pandemic. All Ag-RDTs reach high sensitivity early in the disease and in individuals with high viral loads, supporting their role in identifying transmission relevant infections. For easy-to-use tests, performance shown will likely be maintained in routine implementation. FUNDING: Ministry of Science, Research and Arts, State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, internal funds from Heidelberg University Hospital, University Hospital Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, UK Department of International Development, WHO, Unitaid.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19 , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Sensitivity and Specificity
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