Understanding who is at risk of progression to severe COVID-19 is key to effective treatment. We studied correlates of disease severity in the COMET-ICE clinical trial that randomized 1:1 to placebo or to sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Several laboratory parameters identified study participants at greater risk of severe disease, including a high neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), a negative SARS-CoV-2 serologic test and whole blood transcriptome profiles. Sotrovimab treatment in these groups was associated with normalization of NLR and the transcriptomic profile, and with a decrease of viral RNA in nasopharyngeal samples. Transcriptomics provided the most sensitive detection of participants who would go on to be hospitalized or die. To facilitate timely measurement, we identified a 10-gene signature with similar predictive accuracy. In summary, we identified markers of risk for disease progression and demonstrated that normalization of these parameters occurs with antibody treatment of established infection.
The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant harbors 37 amino acid substitutions in the spike (S) protein, 15 of which are in the receptor-binding domain (RBD), thereby raising concerns about the effectiveness of available vaccines and antibody therapeutics. Here, we show that the Omicron RBD binds to human ACE2 with enhanced affinity relative to the Wuhan-Hu-1 RBD and acquires binding to mouse ACE2. Severe reductions of plasma neutralizing activity were observed against Omicron compared to the ancestral pseudovirus for vaccinated and convalescent individuals. Most (26 out of 29) receptor-binding motif (RBM)-directed monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) lost in vitro neutralizing activity against Omicron, with only three mAbs, including the ACE2-mimicking S2K146 mAb, retaining unaltered potency. Furthermore, a fraction of broadly neutralizing sarbecovirus mAbs recognizing antigenic sites outside the RBM, including sotrovimab, S2X259 and S2H97, neutralized Omicron. The magnitude of Omicron-mediated immune evasion and the acquisition of binding to mouse ACE2 mark a major SARS-CoV-2 mutational shift. Broadly neutralizing sarbecovirus mAbs recognizing epitopes conserved among SARS-CoV-2 variants and other sarbecoviruses may prove key to controlling the ongoing pandemic and future zoonotic spillovers.