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Virus Genes ; 57(6): 502-509, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1449987


SARS-CoV-2 infections elicit a humoral immune response capable of neutralising the virus. However, multiple variants have emerged with mutations in the spike protein amongst others, the key target of neutralising antibodies. We evaluated the neutralising efficacy of 89 serum samples from patients, infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the beginning of 2020, against two virus variants isolated from acutely infected patients and harbouring spike protein mutations. One isolate was assigned to lineage B.1.351 (MUC-IMB-B.1.351) whilst the other (MUC-484) was isolated from an immunocompromised patient, sharing some but not all mutations with B.1.351 and representing a transitional variant. Both variants showed a significant reduction in neutralisation sensitivity compared to wild-type SARS-CoV-2 with MUC-IMB-B.1.351 being almost completely resistant to neutralisation. The observed reduction in neutralising activity of wild-type-specific antibodies against both variants suggests that individual mutations in the spike protein are sufficient to confer a potent escape from the humoral immune response. In addition, the effect of escape mutations seems to accumulate, so that more heavily mutated variants show a greater loss of sensitivity to neutralisation up to complete insensitivity as observed for MUC-IMB-B.1.351. From a clinical point of view, this might affect the efficacy of (monoclonal) antibody treatment of patients with prolonged infections as well as patients infected with variants other than the donor. At the same, this could also negatively influence the efficacy of current vaccines (as they are based on wild-type spike protein) emphasising the need to thoroughly surveil the emergence and distribution of variants and adapt vaccines and therapeutics accordingly.

Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry
J Clin Virol ; 142: 104912, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313212


Spike-specific antibodies contribute significantly to the neutralising activity against SARS-CoV-2 and are important for the therapeutic effect of convalescent plasma. B.1.1.7 is a recently emerged variant of SARS-CoV-2 that has several mutations in the gene encoding for the spike-protein. To assess the potential effect these mutations could have on the neutralising efficacy of antibodies, we evaluated 96 serum samples from convalescent plasma donors collected before the first occurrence of B.1.1.7 and tested their neutralising effect on wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and B.1.1.7. We found that B.1.1.7 is more resistant to neutralisation by convalescent plasma from patients infected with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 with an overall decrease in neutralising activity of 47.7%. Thus, the neutralising effect of convalescent plasma should be determined against the major circulating virus clades whenever possible to ensure the best possible therapeutic effect.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
Br J Anaesth ; 126(3): 590-598, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-965444


BACKGROUND: Critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients present with a hypercoagulable state with high rates of macrovascular and microvascular thrombosis, for which hypofibrinolysis might be an important contributing factor. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed 20 critically ill COVID-19 patients at Innsbruck Medical University Hospital whose coagulation function was tested with ClotPro® and compared with that of 60 healthy individuals at Augsburg University Clinic. ClotPro is a viscoelastic whole blood coagulation testing device. It includes the TPA test, which uses tissue factor (TF)-activated whole blood with added recombinant tissue-derived plasminogen activator (r-tPA) to induce fibrinolysis. For this purpose, the lysis time (LT) is measured as the time from when maximum clot firmness (MCF) is reached until MCF falls by 50%. We compared COVID-19 patients with prolonged LT in the TPA test and those with normal LT. RESULTS: Critically ill COVID-19 patients showed hypercoagulability in ClotPro assays. MCF was higher in the EX test (TF-activated assay), IN test (ellagic acid-activated assay), and FIB test (functional fibrinogen assay) with decreased maximum lysis (ML) in the EX test (hypofibrinolysis) and highly prolonged TPA test LT (decreased fibrinolytic response), as compared with healthy persons. COVID-19 patients with decreased fibrinolytic response showed higher fibrinogen levels, higher thrombocyte count, higher C-reactive protein levels, and decreased ML in the EX test and IN test. CONCLUSION: Critically ill COVID-19 patients have impaired fibrinolysis. This hypofibrinolytic state could be at least partially dependent on a decreased fibrinolytic response.

COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , Critical Illness/epidemiology , Fibrinolysis/drug effects , Thrombophilia/blood , Thrombophilia/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Anticoagulants/administration & dosage , Blood Coagulation Tests/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Fibrinolysis/physiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Thrombophilia/diagnosis , Tissue Plasminogen Activator/administration & dosage