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1.
BMJ open ; 12(9), 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2011138

ABSTRACT

Purpose To investigate the robustness and longevity of SARS-CoV-2 immune responses conferred by natural infection and vaccination among priority populations such as immunocompromised individuals and people with post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 in a prospective cohort study (Stop the Spread Ottawa—SSO) in adults living in the Ottawa region. In this paper, we describe the study design, ongoing data collection and baseline characteristics of participants. Participants Since October 2020, participants who tested positive for COVID-19 (convalescents) or at high risk of exposure to the virus (under surveillance) have provided monthly blood and saliva samples over a 10-month period. As of 2 November 2021, 1026 adults had completed the baseline survey and 976 had attended baseline bloodwork. 300 participants will continue to provide bimonthly blood samples for 24 additional months (ie, total follow-up of 34 months). Findings to date The median age of the baseline sample was 44 (IQR 23, range: 18–79) and just over two-thirds (n=688;67.1%) were female. 255 participants (24.9%) had a history of COVID-19 infection confirmed by PCR and/or serology. Over 600 participants (60.0%) work in high-risk occupations (eg, healthcare, teaching and transportation). 108 participants (10.5%) reported immunocompromising conditions or treatments at baseline (eg, cancer, HIV, other immune deficiency, and/or use of immunosuppressants). Future plans SSO continues to yield rich research potential, given the collection of pre-vaccine baseline data and samples from the majority of participants, recruitment of diverse subgroups of interest, and a high level of participant retention and compliance with monthly sampling. The 24-month study extension will maximise opportunities to track SARS-CoV-2 immunity and vaccine efficacy, detect and characterise emerging variants, and compare subgroup humoral and cellular response robustness and persistence.

2.
Heliyon ; : e10270, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2004106

ABSTRACT

The extent of the COVID-19 pandemic will be better understood through serosurveys and SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing. Dried blood spot (DBS) samples will play a central role in large scale serosurveillance by simplifying biological specimen collection and transportation, especially in Canada. Direct comparative performance data on multiplex SARS-CoV-2 assays resulting from identical DBS samples are currently lacking. In our study, we aimed to provide performance data for the BioPlex 2200 SARS-CoV-2 IgG (Bio-Rad), V-PLEX SARS-CoV-2 Panel 2 IgG (MSD), and Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 (Roche) commercial assays, as well as for two highly scalable in-house assays (University of Ottawa and Mount Sinai Hospital protocols) to assess their suitability for DBS-based SARS-CoV-2 DBS serosurveillance. These assays were evaluated against identical panels of DBS samples collected from convalescent COVID-19 patients (n = 97) and individuals undergoing routine sexually transmitted and bloodborne infection (STBBI) testing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 90). Our findings suggest that several assays are suitable for serosurveillance (sensitivity >97% and specificity >98%). In contrast to other reports, we did not observe an improvement in performance using multiple antigen consensus-based rules to establish overall seropositivity. This may be due to our DBS panel which consisted of samples collected from convalescent COVID-19 patients with significant anti-spike, -receptor binding domain (RBD), and -nucleocapsid antibody titers. This study demonstrates that biological specimens collected as DBS coupled with one of several readily available assays are useful for large-scale COVID-19 serosurveillance.

3.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3716, 2022 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984382

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the development of numerous diagnostic tools to monitor infection and to determine immune response. Although assays to measure binding antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are widely available, more specific tests measuring neutralization activities of antibodies are immediately needed to quantify the extent and duration of protection that results from infection or vaccination. We previously developed a 'Serological Assay based on a Tri-part split-NanoLuc® (SATiN)' to detect antibodies that bind to the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2. Here, we expand on our previous work and describe a reconfigured version of the SATiN assay, called Neutralization SATiN (Neu-SATiN), which measures neutralization activity of antibodies directly from convalescent or vaccinated sera. The results obtained with our assay and other neutralization assays are comparable but with significantly shorter preparation and run time for Neu-SATiN. As the assay is modular, we further demonstrate that Neu-SATiN enables rapid assessment of the effectiveness of vaccines and level of protection against existing SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and can therefore be readily adapted for emerging variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Luciferases , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Envelope Proteins
4.
CMAJ Open ; 10(3): E643-E651, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1934594

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is limited information on the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in obstetric settings in Canada, beyond the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (February to June 2020). We sought to describe the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant people admitted to triage units at a tertiary care hospital in Ottawa, Canada. METHODS: We conducted a descriptive study of pregnant people admitted to obstetric triage assessment units at The Ottawa Hospital between Oct. 19 and Nov. 27, 2020 (second local wave of the COVID-19 pandemic). Participants underwent SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (via naso- or oropharyngeal swabs) and serology testing upon admission. We excluded individuals younger than 18 years, those who did not speak English or French, those who enrolled in conflicting studies, those admitted for pregnancy termination and those triaged between 11:31 pm and 7:29 am. Swab and serology samples were analyzed using digital droplet PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, respectively. We defined SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity as a positive result for immunoglobulin (Ig) G, either alone or in combination with IgM or IgA. RESULTS: Of the 632 eligible patients, 363 (57.4%) consented to participation and 362 collectively provided 284 swab and 352 blood samples eligible for analysis. Common reasons for declining participation included feeling overwhelmed or anxious, being worried about repercussions of testing, pain or discomfort with testing or disinterest in research. Participants were mostly multiparous (53.9%) and in their third trimester upon admission (88.4%). In all, 18 (4.9%) participants had evidence of SARS-CoV-2 exposure; 2 (0.7%) of 284 were positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR and 16 (4.5%) of 352 were positive for IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. INTERPRETATION: During the second local wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of active SARS-CoV-2 infection among obstetric patients in Ottawa was 0.7% and seroprevalence was 4.5%. Our low participation rate highlights the need for improvements in patient education and public health messaging on the benefits of SARS-CoV-2 testing programs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Canada/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Seroepidemiologic Studies
6.
Pediatr Infect Dis J ; 41(8): e318-e320, 2022 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1840095

ABSTRACT

This substudy of a prospective case-ascertained household transmission study investigated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-positive individuals without antibody development and factors associated with nonseroconversion. Approximately 1 of 8 individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 did not seroconvert. Children, particularly the youngest, were approximately half as likely to seroconvert compared with adults. Apart from the absence of fever/chills, individual symptoms did not strongly predict nonseroconversion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Antibodies , COVID-19/diagnosis , Child , Humans , Prospective Studies , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
7.
Blood Adv ; 6(12): 3593-3605, 2022 06 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799124

ABSTRACT

Platelets are hyperactivated in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the mechanisms promoting platelet activation by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are not well understood. This may be due to inherent challenges in discriminating the contribution of viral vs host components produced by infected cells. This is particularly true for enveloped viruses and extracellular vesicles (EVs), as they are concomitantly released during infection and share biophysical properties. To study this, we evaluated whether SARS-CoV-2 itself or components derived from SARS-CoV-2-infected human lung epithelial cells could activate isolated platelets from healthy donors. Activation was measured by the surface expression of P-selectin and the activated conformation of integrin αIIbß3, degranulation, aggregation under flow conditions, and the release of EVs. We find that neither SARS-CoV-2 nor purified spike activates platelets. In contrast, tissue factor (TF) produced by infected cells was highly potent at activating platelets. This required trace amounts of plasma containing the coagulation factors FX, FII, and FVII. Robust platelet activation involved thrombin and the activation of protease-activated receptor (PAR)-1 and -4 expressed by platelets. Virions and EVs were identified by electron microscopy. Through size-exclusion chromatography, TF activity was found to be associated with a virus or EVs, which were indistinguishable. Increased TF messenger RNA (mRNA) expression and activity were also found in lungs in a murine model of COVID-19 and plasma of severe COVID-19 patients, respectively. In summary, TF activity from SARS-CoV-2-infected cells activates thrombin, which signals to PARs on platelets. Blockade of molecules in this pathway may interfere with platelet activation and the coagulation characteristic of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Humans , Mice , Platelet Activation , Thrombin , Thromboplastin/metabolism
8.
CMAJ Open ; 10(2): E357-E366, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1789665

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Household transmission contributes to SARS-CoV-2 spread, but the role of children in transmission is unclear. We conducted a study that included symptomatic and asymptomatic children and adults exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in their households with the objective of determining how SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted within households. METHODS: In this case-ascertained antibody-surveillance study, we enrolled households in Ottawa, Ontario, in which at least 1 household member had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing. The enrolment period was September 2020 to March 2021. Potentially eligible participants were identified if they had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at an academic emergency department or affiliated testing centre; people who learned about the study through the media could also self-identify for participation. At least 2 participants were required for a household to be eligible for study participation, and at least 1 enrolled participant per household had to be a child (age < 18 yr). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to evaluate SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA, IgM and IgG against the spike-trimer and nucleocapsid protein. The primary outcome was household secondary attack rate, defined as the proportion of household contacts positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibody among the total number of household contacts participating in the study. We performed descriptive statistics at both the individual and household levels. To estimate and compare outcomes between patient subgroups, and to examine predictors of household transmission, we fitted a series of multivariable logistic regression with robust standard errors to account for clustering of individuals within households. RESULTS: We enrolled 695 participants from 180 households: 180 index participants (74 children, 106 adults) and 515 of their household contacts (266 children, 249 adults). A total of 487 household contacts (94.6%) (246 children, 241 adults) had SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing, of whom 239 had a positive result (secondary attack rate 49.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 42.9%-55.3%). Eighty-eight (36.8%, 95% CI 29.3%-43.2%) of the 239 were asymptomatic; asymptomatic rates were similar for children (51/130 [39.2%, 95% CI 30.7%-48.5%]) and adults (37/115 [32.2%, 95% CI 24.2%-41.4%]) (odds ratio [OR] 1.3, 95% CI 0.8-2.1). Adults were more likely than children to transmit SARS-CoV-2 (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.3-3.6). The odds of transmission from asymptomatic (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.2-1.4) versus symptomatic (OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.6-1.4) index participants to household contacts was uncertain. Predictors of household transmission included household density (number of people per bedroom), relationship to index participant and number of cases in the household. INTERPRETATION: The rate of SARS-CoV-2 transmission within households was nearly 50% during the study period, and children were an important source of spread. The findings suggest that children are an important driver of the COVID-19 pandemic; this should inform public health policy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Family Characteristics , Humans , Incidence , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
9.
Clin Transl Immunology ; 11(3): e1380, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1750347

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Antibody testing against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been instrumental in detecting previous exposures and analyzing vaccine-elicited immune responses. Here, we describe a scalable solution to detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, discriminate between natural infection- and vaccination-induced responses, and assess antibody-mediated inhibition of the spike-angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) interaction. Methods: We developed methods and reagents to detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The main assays focus on the parallel detection of immunoglobulin (Ig)Gs against the spike trimer, its receptor binding domain (RBD) and nucleocapsid (N). We automated a surrogate neutralisation (sn)ELISA that measures inhibition of ACE2-spike or -RBD interactions by antibodies. The assays were calibrated to a World Health Organization reference standard. Results: Our single-point IgG-based ELISAs accurately distinguished non-infected and infected individuals. For seroprevalence assessment (in a non-vaccinated cohort), classifying a sample as positive if antibodies were detected for ≥ 2 of the 3 antigens provided the highest specificity. In vaccinated cohorts, increases in anti-spike and -RBD (but not -N) antibodies are observed. We present detailed protocols for serum/plasma or dried blood spots analysis performed manually and on automated platforms. The snELISA can be performed automatically at single points, increasing its scalability. Conclusions: Measuring antibodies to three viral antigens and identify neutralising antibodies capable of disrupting spike-ACE2 interactions in high-throughput enables large-scale analyses of humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination. The reagents are available to enable scaling up of standardised serological assays, permitting inter-laboratory data comparison and aggregation.

10.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308460

ABSTRACT

The true severity of infection due to COVID-19 is under-represented because it is based on only those who are tested. Although nucleic acid amplifications tests (NAAT) are the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, serological assays provide better population-level SARS-CoV-2 prevalence estimates. Implementing large sero-surveys present several logistical challenges within Canada due its unique geography including rural and remote communities. Dried blood spot (DBS) sampling is a practical solution but comparative performance data on SARS-CoV-2 serological tests using DBS is currently lacking. Here we present test performance data from a well-characterized SARS-CoV-2 DBS panel sent to laboratories across Canada representing 10 commercial and 2 in-house developed tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Three commercial assays identified all positive and negative DBS correctly corresponding to a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 100% (95% CI = 72.2, 100). Two in-house assays also performed equally well. In contrast, several commercial assays could not achieve a sensitivity greater than 40% or a negative predictive value greater than 60%. Our findings represent the foundation for future validation studies on DBS specimens that will play a central role in strengthening Canada’s public health policy in response to COVID-19.

12.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0261003, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556871

ABSTRACT

The true severity of infection due to COVID-19 is under-represented because it is based on only those who are tested. Although nucleic acid amplifications tests (NAAT) are the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, serological assays provide better population-level SARS-CoV-2 prevalence estimates. Implementing large sero-surveys present several logistical challenges within Canada due its unique geography including rural and remote communities. Dried blood spot (DBS) sampling is a practical solution but comparative performance data on SARS-CoV-2 serological tests using DBS is currently lacking. Here we present test performance data from a well-characterized SARS-CoV-2 DBS panel sent to laboratories across Canada representing 10 commercial and 2 in-house developed tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Three commercial assays identified all positive and negative DBS correctly corresponding to a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 100% (95% CI = 72.2, 100). Two in-house assays also performed equally well. In contrast, several commercial assays could not achieve a sensitivity greater than 40% or a negative predictive value greater than 60%. Our findings represent the foundation for future validation studies on DBS specimens that will play a central role in strengthening Canada's public health policy in response to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Dried Blood Spot Testing , Area Under Curve , COVID-19/virology , Humans , ROC Curve , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity
13.
EBioMedicine ; 74: 103700, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540595

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antibodies raised against human seasonal coronaviruses (sCoVs), which are responsible for the common cold, are known to cross-react with SARS-CoV-2 antigens. This prompts questions about their protective role against SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 severity. However, the relationship between sCoVs exposure and SARS-CoV-2 correlates of protection are not clearly identified. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of cross-reactivity and cross-neutralization to SARS-CoV-2 antigens (S-RBD, S-trimer, N) using pre-pandemic sera from four different groups: pediatrics and adolescents, individuals 21 to 70 years of age, older than 70 years of age, and individuals living with HCV or HIV. Data was then further analysed using machine learning to identify predictive patterns of neutralization based on sCoVs serology. FINDINGS: Antibody cross-reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 antigens varied between 1.6% and 15.3% depending on the cohort and the isotype-antigen pair analyzed. We also show a range of neutralizing activity (0-45%) with median inhibition ranging from 17.6 % to 23.3 % in serum that interferes with SARS-CoV-2 spike attachment to ACE2 independently of age group. While the abundance of sCoV antibodies did not directly correlate with neutralization, we show that neutralizing activity is rather dependent on relative ratios of IgGs in sera directed to all four sCoV spike proteins. More specifically, we identified antibodies to NL63 and OC43 as being the most important predictors of neutralization. INTERPRETATION: Our data support the concept that exposure to sCoVs triggers antibody responses that influence the efficiency of SARS-CoV-2 spike binding to ACE2, which may potentially impact COVID-19 disease severity through other latent variables. FUNDING: This study was supported by a grant by the CIHR (VR2 -172722) and by a grant supplement by the CITF, and by a NRC Collaborative R&D Initiative Grant (PR031-1).


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Coronavirus 229E, Human/immunology , Coronavirus NL63, Human/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Common Cold/virology , Cross Reactions/immunology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Middle Aged , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Young Adult
14.
Front Immunol ; 11: 610688, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1004680

ABSTRACT

In December 2019, the novel betacoronavirus Severe Acute Respiratory Disease Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in Wuhan, China. SARS-CoV-2 has since become a pandemic virus resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and deep socioeconomic implications worldwide. In recent months, efforts have been directed towards detecting, tracking, and better understanding human humoral responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection. It has become critical to develop robust and reliable serological assays to characterize the abundance, neutralization efficiency, and duration of antibodies in virus-exposed individuals. Here we review the latest knowledge on humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with the benefits and limitations of currently available commercial and laboratory-based serological assays. We also highlight important serological considerations, such as antibody expression levels, stability and neutralization dynamics, as well as cross-reactivity and possible immunological back-boosting by seasonal coronaviruses. The ability to accurately detect, measure and characterize the various antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 is necessary for vaccine development, manage risk and exposure for healthcare and at-risk workers, and for monitoring reinfections with genetic variants and new strains of the virus. Having a thorough understanding of the benefits and cautions of standardized serological testing at a community level remains critically important in the design and implementation of future vaccination campaigns, epidemiological models of immunity, and public health measures that rely heavily on up-to-date knowledge of transmission dynamics.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19 , Immunity, Humoral , Models, Immunological , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans
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