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1.
Nat Med ; 2022 Jan 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1632860

ABSTRACT

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is causing a rapid increase in infections across the globe. This new variant of concern carries an unusually high number of mutations in key epitopes of neutralizing antibodies on the viral spike glycoprotein, suggesting potential immune evasion. Here we assessed serum neutralizing capacity in longitudinal cohorts of vaccinated and convalescent individuals, as well as monoclonal antibody activity against Omicron using pseudovirus neutralization assays. We report a near-complete lack of neutralizing activity against Omicron in polyclonal sera from individuals vaccinated with two doses of the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine and from convalescent individuals, as well as resistance to different monoclonal antibodies in clinical use. However, mRNA booster immunizations in vaccinated and convalescent individuals resulted in a significant increase of serum neutralizing activity against Omicron. This study demonstrates that booster immunizations can critically improve the humoral immune response against the Omicron variant.

2.
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.

3.
Cell ; 2021 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588146

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is linked to both dysfunctional immune response and unrestrained immunopathology, and it remains unclear whether T cells contribute to disease pathology. Here, we combined single-cell transcriptomics and single-cell proteomics with mechanistic studies to assess pathogenic T cell functions and inducing signals. We identified highly activated CD16+ T cells with increased cytotoxic functions in severe COVID-19. CD16 expression enabled immune-complex-mediated, T cell receptor-independent degranulation and cytotoxicity not found in other diseases. CD16+ T cells from COVID-19 patients promoted microvascular endothelial cell injury and release of neutrophil and monocyte chemoattractants. CD16+ T cell clones persisted beyond acute disease maintaining their cytotoxic phenotype. Increased generation of C3a in severe COVID-19 induced activated CD16+ cytotoxic T cells. Proportions of activated CD16+ T cells and plasma levels of complement proteins upstream of C3a were associated with fatal outcome of COVID-19, supporting a pathological role of exacerbated cytotoxicity and complement activation in COVID-19.

4.
Preprint | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296695

ABSTRACT

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is causing a rapid increase in infections in various countries. This new variant of concern carries an unusually high number of mutations in key epitopes of neutralizing antibodies on the spike glycoprotein, suggesting potential immune evasion. Here we assessed serum neutralizing capacity in longitudinal cohorts of vaccinated and convalescent individuals, as well as monoclonal antibody activity against Omicron using pseudovirus neutralization assays. We report a near-complete lack of neutralizing activity against Omicron in polyclonal sera after two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine, in convalescent individuals, as well as resistance to different monoclonal antibodies in clinical use. However, mRNA booster immunizations in vaccinated and convalescent individuals resulted in a significant increase of serum neutralizing activity against Omicron. Our study demonstrates that booster immunizations will be critical to substantially improve the humoral immune response against the Omicron variant.

5.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294933

ABSTRACT

Objective to assess reactogenicity and immunogenicity of heterologous prime-boost immunisations of ChAdOx1-nCoV19 (Vaxzevria, ChAdOx) followed by BNT162b2 (Comirnaty, BNT) compared to homologous BNT/BNT immunisation. Design prospective, observational cohort study. Setting unicenter study in a cohort of health care workers at a tertiary care center in Berlin, Germany. Participants 340 health care workers immunised between 27 December 2020 and 21 May 2021 at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany Main outcome measures the main outcomes were reactogenicity assessed on days one, three, five and seven post prime and boost vaccination, and immunogenicity measured by serum SARS-CoV-2 full spike-, spike S1-, and spike RBD-IgG, virus neutralisation capacity, anti-S1-IgG avidity, and T cell reactivity measured by Interferon gamma release assay at 3-4 weeks post prime and boost immunisation. Results Heterologous ChAdOx/BNT booster vaccination was overall well-tolerated and reactogenicity was largely comparable to homologous BNT/BNT vaccination. Systemic reactions were most frequent after prime immunisation with ChAdOx (86%, 95CI: 79-91), and less frequent after homologous BNT/BNT (65%, 95CI: 56-72), or heterologous ChAdOx/BNT booster vaccination (48%, 95CI: 36-59). Serum antibody responses and T cell reactivity were strongly increased after both homologous and heterologous boost, and immunogenicity was overall robust, and comparable between both regimens in this cohort, with slightly increased S1-IgG avidity and T cell responses following heterologous booster immunisation. Conclusions Evidence of rare thrombotic events associated with ChAdOx has led to recommendation of a heterologous booster with mRNA vaccines for certain age groups in several European countries, despite a lack of robust safety and immunogenicity data for this vaccine regimen. This interim analysis provides evidence that the currently recommended heterologous ChAdOx/BNT immunisation regimen with 10-12 week vaccine intervals is well tolerated and slightly more immunogenic compared to homologous BNT/BNT vaccination with three week vaccine intervals. Heterologous prime-boost immunisation for COVID-19 may be generally applicable to optimise logistics and improve immunogenicity and to mitigate potential intermittent supply shortages for individual vaccines.

7.
Front Immunol ; 12: 690698, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317227

ABSTRACT

Patients with kidney failure have notoriously weak responses to common vaccines. Thus, immunogenicity of novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccines might be impaired in this group. To determine immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with chronic dialysis, we analyzed the humoral and T-cell response after two doses of mRNA vaccine Tozinameran (BNT162b2 BioNTech/Pfizer). This observational study included 43 patients on dialysis before vaccination with two doses of Tozinameran 21 days apart. Overall, 36 patients completed the observation period until three weeks after the second dose and 32 patients were further analyzed at week 10. Serum samples were analyzed by SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG and IgA antibodies ~1, ~3-4 and ~10 weeks after the second vaccination. In addition, SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses were assessed at ~3-4 weeks by an interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA). Antibody and T cell outcomes at this timepoint were compared to a group of 44 elderly patients not on dialysis, after immunization with Tozinameran. Median age of patients on chronic dialysis was 74.0 years (IQR 66.0, 82.0). The proportion of males was higher (69.4%) than females. Only 20/36 patients (55.6%, 95%CI: 38.29-71.67) developed SARS-CoV-2-IgG antibodies at the first sampling, whereas 32/36 patients (88.9%, 95%CI: 73.00-96.38) demonstrated IgG detection at the second sampling. In a longitudinal follow-up at ~10 weeks after the second dose, the proportion of dialysis patients reactive for anti-SARS-CoV-2-IgG decreased to 27/32 (84.37%, 95%CI: 66.46-94.10) The proportion of anti-SARS-CoV-2 S1 IgA decreased from 33/36 (91.67%; 95%CI: 76.41-97.82) at weeks 3-4 down to 19/32 (59.38; 95%CI: 40.79-75.78). Compared to a cohort of vaccinees with similar age but not on chronic dialysis seroconversion rates and antibody titers were significantly lower. SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses 3 weeks after second vaccination were detected in 21/31 vaccinated dialysis patients (67.7%, 95%CI: 48.53-82.68) compared to 42/44 (93.3%, 95%CI: 76.49-98.84) in controls of similar age. Patients on dialysis demonstrate a delayed, but robust immune response three to four weeks after the second dose, which indicates effective vaccination of this vulnerable group. However, the lower immunogenicity of Tozinameran in these patients needs further attention to develop potential countermeasures such as an additional booster vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Renal Dialysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/methods , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Immunity , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
8.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 27(10): 1520.e7-1520.e10, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1297038

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Dexamethasone has become the standard of care for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but its virological impact is poorly understood. The objectives of this work were to characterize the kinetics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) concentration in the upper respiratory tract (URT) and the antibody response in patients with (D+) and without (D-) dexamethasone treatment. METHODS: Data and biosamples from hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, enrolled between 4th March and 11th December 2020 in a prospective observational study, were analysed. SARS-CoV-2 virus concentration in serial URT samples was measured using RT-PCR. SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulins A and G (IgA and IgG) were measured in serum samples using S1-ELISA. RESULTS: We compared 101 immunocompetent patients who received dexamethasone (according to the inclusion criteria and dosage determined in the RECOVERY trial) to 93 immunocompetent patients with comparable disease severity from the first months of the pandemic, who had not been treated with dexamethasone or other glucocorticoids. We found no inter-group differences in virus concentration kinetics, duration of presence of viral loads >106 viral copies/mL (D+ median 17 days (IQR 13-24), D- 19 days (IQR 13-29)), or time from symptom onset until seroconversion (IgA: D+ median 11.5 days (IQR 11-12), D- 14 days (IQR 11.5-15.75); IgG: D+ 13 days (IQR 12-14.5), D- 12 days (IQR 11-15)). CONCLUSION: Dexamethasone does not appear to lead to a change in virus clearance or a delay in antibody response in immunocompetent patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , Dexamethasone/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Hospitalization , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Kinetics , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/analysis , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Seroconversion , Viral Load
9.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(8): 2174-2178, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261342

ABSTRACT

We detected delayed and reduced antibody and T-cell responses after BNT162b2 vaccination in 71 elderly persons (median age 81 years) compared with 123 healthcare workers (median age 34 years) in Germany. These data emphasize that nonpharmaceutical interventions for coronavirus disease remain crucial and that additional immunizations for the elderly might become necessary.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 Vaccines , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
10.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(8): 2169-2173, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261341

ABSTRACT

One week after second vaccinations were administered, an outbreak of B.1.1.7 lineage severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections occurred in a long-term care facility in Berlin, Germany, affecting 16/20 vaccinated and 4/4 unvaccinated residents. Despite considerable viral loads, vaccinated residents experienced mild symptoms and faster time to negative test results.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Berlin , Disease Outbreaks , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Long-Term Care , Vaccination
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