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1.
Microbiol Spectr ; : e0078621, 2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605388

ABSTRACT

Seroepidemiological studies to monitor antibody kinetics are important for assessing the extent and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in a population. Noninvasive sampling methods are advantageous for reducing the need for venipuncture, which may be a barrier to investigations, particularly in pediatric populations. Oral fluids are obtained by gingiva-crevicular sampling from children and adults and are very well accepted. Enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) based on these samples have acceptable sensitivity and specificity compared to conventional serum-based antibody EIAs and are suitable for population-based surveillance. We describe the development and evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 IgG EIAs using SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleoprotein (NP) and spike (S) proteins in IgG isotype capture format and an indirect receptor-binding-domain (RBD) IgG EIA, intended for use in children as a primary endpoint. All three assays were assessed using a panel of 1,999 paired serum and oral fluids from children and adults participating in school SARS-CoV-2 surveillance studies during and after the first and second pandemic wave in the United Kingdom. The anti-NP IgG capture assay was the best candidate, with an overall sensitivity of 75% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 71 to 79%) and specificity of 99% (95% CI: 78 to 99%) compared with paired serum antibodies. Sensitivity observed in children (80%, 95% CI: 71 to 88%) was higher than that in adults (67%, CI: 60% to 74%). Oral fluid assays (OF) using spike protein and RBD antigens were also 99% specific and achieved reasonable but lower sensitivity in the target population (78%, 95% CI [68% to 86%] and 53%, 95% CI [43% to 64%], respectively). IMPORTANCE We report on the first large-scale assessment of the suitability of oral fluids for detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibody obtained from healthy children attending school. The sample type (gingiva-crevicular fluid, which is a transudate of blood but is not saliva) can be self collected. Although detection of antibodies in oral fluids is less sensitive than that in blood, our study suggests an optimal format for operational use. The laboratory methods we have developed can reliably measure antibodies in children, who are able to take their own samples. Our findings are of immediate practical relevance for use in large-scale seroprevalence studies designed to measure exposure to infection, as they typically require venipuncture. Overall, our data indicate that OF assays based on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are a tool suitable for population-based seroepidemiology studies in children and highly acceptable in children and adults, as venipuncture is no longer necessary.

2.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295014

ABSTRACT

Introduction SARS-CoV-2 serological studies have so far focused mainly on adults. Public Health England initiated prospective, longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 sero-surveillance in schools across England after the first national lockdown, which allowed comparison of child and adult responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection over time. Methods Staff and students had venepuncture for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in school during June, July and December 2020. Blood samples were tested for nucleocapsid (Abbott) and receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies (in-house assay), and student samples were additionally assessed for live virus neutralising activity. Results In June 2020, 1,344 staff and 835 students were tested. Overall, 11.5% (95% CI: 9.4-13.9) and 11.3% (95% CI: 9.2-13.6;p=0.88) of students had nucleoprotein and RBD antibodies, compared to 15.6% (95% CI: 13.7-17.6) and 15.3% (95% CI: 13.4-17.3;p=0.83) of staff. Live virus neutralising activity was detected in 79.8% (n=71/89) of nucleocapsid and 85.5% (71/83) of RBD antibody positive children. RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with neutralising antibodies (r s =0.7527;p<0.0001) than nucleocapsid antibodies (r s =0.3698;p<0.0001). A median of 24.4 weeks later, 58.2% (107/184) participants had nucleocapsid antibody seroreversion, compared to 20.9% (33/158) for RBD (p<0.001). Similar seroreversion rates were observed between staff and students for nucleocapsid (p=0.26) and RBD-antibodies (p=0.43). Nucleocapsid and RBD antibody quantitative results were significantly lower in staff compared to students (p=0.028 and <0.0001 respectively) at baseline, but not at 24 weeks (p=0.16 and p=0.37, respectively). Conclusion RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with live virus neutralising activity. Most seropositive students and staff retained RBD antibodies for >6 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

3.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 2(12): e811-e819, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541059

ABSTRACT

Background: Understanding the duration of protection and risk of reinfection after natural infection is crucial to planning COVID-19 vaccination for at-risk groups, including care home residents, particularly with the emergence of more transmissible variants. We report on the duration, neutralising activity, and protection against the alpha variant of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in care home residents and staff infected more than 6 months previously. Methods: We did this prospective observational cohort surveillance in 13 care homes in Greater London, England. All staff and residents were included. Staff and residents had regular nose and throat screening for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR according to national guidelines, with ad hoc testing of symptomatic individuals. From January, 2021, antigen lateral flow devices were also used, but positive tests still required RT-PCR confirmation. Staff members took the swab samples for themselves and the residents. The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive primary infection or reinfection in previously infected individuals, as determined by previous serological testing and screening or diagnostic RT-PCR results. Poisson regression and Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate protective effectiveness of previous exposure. SARS-CoV-2 spike, nucleoprotein, and neutralising antibodies were assessed at multiple timepoints as part of the longitudinal follow-up. Findings: Between April 10 and Aug 3, 2020, we recruited and tested 1625 individuals (933 staff and 692 residents). 248 participants were lost to follow-up (123 staff and 125 residents) and 1377 participants were included in the follow-up period to Jan 31, 2021 (810 staff and 567 residents). There were 23 reinfections (ten confirmed, eight probable, five possible) in 656 previously infected individuals (366 staff and 290 residents), compared with 165 primary infections in 721 susceptible individuals (444 staff and 277 residents). Those with confirmed reinfections had no or low neutralising antibody concentration before reinfection, with boosting of titres after reinfection. Kinetics of binding and neutralising antibodies were similar in older residents and younger staff. Interpretation: SARS-CoV-2 reinfections were rare in older residents and younger staff. Protection from SARS-CoV-2 was sustained for longer than 9 months, including against the alpha variant. Reinfection was associated with no or low neutralising antibody before reinfection, but significant boosting occurred on reinfection. Funding: Public Health England.

4.
EClinicalMedicine ; 41: 101150, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446584

ABSTRACT

Background: Prospective, longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 sero-surveillance in schools across England was initiated after the first national lockdown, allowing comparison of child and adult antibody responses over time. Methods: Prospective active serological surveillance in 46 primary schools in England tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during June, July and December 2020. Samples were tested for nucleocapsid (N) and receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies, to estimate antibody persistence at least 6 months after infection, and for the correlation of N, RBD and live virus neutralising activity. Findings: In June 2020, 1,344 staff and 835 students were tested. Overall, 11.5% (95%CI: 9.4-13.9) and 11.3% (95%CI: 9.2-13.6; p = 0.88) of students had nucleoprotein and RBD antibodies, compared to 15.6% (95%CI: 13.7-17.6) and 15.3% (95%CI: 13.4-17.3; p = 0.83) of staff. Live virus neutralising activity was detected in 79.8% (n = 71/89) of nucleocapsid and 85.5% (71/83) of RBD antibody positive children. RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with neutralising antibodies (rs=0.7527; p<0.0001) than nucleocapsid antibodies (rs=0.3698; p<0.0001). A median of 24.4 weeks later, 58.2% (107/184) participants had nucleocapsid antibody seroreversion, compared to 20.9% (33/158) for RBD (p<0.001). Similar seroreversion rates were observed between staff and students for nucleocapsid (p = 0.26) and RBD-antibodies (p = 0.43). Nucleocapsid and RBD antibody quantitative results were significantly lower in staff compared to students (p = 0.028 and <0.0001 respectively) at baseline, but not at 24 weeks (p = 0.16 and p = 0.37, respectively). Interpretation: The immune response in children following SARS-CoV-2 infection was robust and sustained (>6 months) but further work is required to understand the extent to which this protects against reinfection.

6.
Nat Immunol ; 22(5): 620-626, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387432

ABSTRACT

The immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is critical in controlling disease, but there is concern that waning immunity may predispose to reinfection. We analyzed the magnitude and phenotype of the SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response in 100 donors at 6 months following infection. T cell responses were present by ELISPOT and/or intracellular cytokine staining analysis in all donors and characterized by predominant CD4+ T cell responses with strong interleukin (IL)-2 cytokine expression. Median T cell responses were 50% higher in donors who had experienced a symptomatic infection, indicating that the severity of primary infection establishes a 'set point' for cellular immunity. T cell responses to spike and nucleoprotein/membrane proteins were correlated with peak antibody levels. Furthermore, higher levels of nucleoprotein-specific T cells were associated with preservation of nucleoprotein-specific antibody level although no such correlation was observed in relation to spike-specific responses. In conclusion, our data are reassuring that functional SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses are retained at 6 months following infection.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Interleukin-2/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Time Factors , Young Adult
7.
J Infect ; 83(4): 483-489, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330976

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To measure secondary attack rates (SARs) in prospectively followed household contacts of paediatric and adult cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England. METHODS: Self-taken nasal swabs from household contacts of PCR confirmed cases of COVID-19  and blood samples  on day 35 were tested for evidence of infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus. RESULTS: The secondary attack rate (SAR) among 431 contacts of 172 symptomatic index cases  was 33% (95% confidence intervals [CI] 25-40) and was lower from primary cases without respiratory symptoms, 6% (CI 0-14) vs 37% (CI 29-45), p = 0.030. The SAR from index cases <11 years  was  25% (CI 12-38). SARs ranged from 16% (4-28) in contacts <11 years old to 36% (CI 28-45) in contacts aged 19-54 years (p = 0.119). The proportion infected who developed symptoms (78%) was similar by age (p = 0.44) though <19 year olds had fewer mean number of symptoms than adults (p = 0.001) and fewer reported loss of sense of taste or smell (p = 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: There are high risks of  transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the home, including those where infection is introduced by a child. The risk of children acquiring infection was lower than that in adults and fewer developed typical symptoms of Covid-19 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Child , Family Characteristics , Humans , Incidence , Prospective Studies
8.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(7): 1795-1801, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278355

ABSTRACT

We describe results of testing blood donors in London, UK, for severe acute respiratory disease coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG before and after lockdown measures. Anonymized samples from donors 17-69 years of age were tested using 3 assays: Euroimmun IgG, Abbott IgG, and an immunoglobulin receptor-binding domain assay developed by Public Health England. Seroprevalence increased from 3.0% prelockdown (week 13, beginning March 23, 2020) to 10.4% during lockdown (weeks 15-16) and 12.3% postlockdown (week 18) by the Abbott assay. Estimates were 2.9% prelockdown, 9.9% during lockdown, and 13.0% postlockdown by the Euroimmun assay and 3.5% prelockdown, 11.8% during lockdown, and 14.1% postlockdown by the receptor-binding domain assay. By early May 2020, nearly 1 in 7 donors had evidence of past SARS-CoV-2 infection. Combining results from the Abbott and Euroimmun assays increased seroprevalence by 1.6%, 2.3%, and 0.6% at the 3 timepoints compared with Euroimmun alone, demonstrating the value of using multiple assays.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Blood Donors , Communicable Disease Control , England , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , London/epidemiology , Public Health , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies , United Kingdom
9.
J Infect ; 83(1): 104-111, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1210060

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In England, the reopening of universities in September 2020 coincided with a rapid increase in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in university aged young adults. This study aimed to estimate SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in students attending universities that had experienced a COVID-19 outbreak after reopening for the autumn term in September 2020. METHODS: A cross-sectional serosurvey was conducted during 02-11 December 2020 in students aged ≤ 25 years across five universities in England. Blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing were obtained using a self-sampling kit and analysed using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 N antibody and/or an in-house receptor binding domain (RBD) assay. FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in 2,905 university students was 17.8% (95%CI, 16.5-19.3), ranging between 7.6%-29.7% across the five universities. Seropositivity was associated with being younger likely to represent first year undergraduates (aOR 3.2, 95% CI 2.0-4.9), living in halls of residence (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.7) and sharing a kitchen with an increasing number of students (shared with 4-7 individuals, aOR 1.43, 95%CI 1.12-1.82; shared with 8 or more individuals, aOR 1.53, 95% CI 1.04-2.24). Seropositivity was 49% in students living in halls of residence that reported high SARS-CoV-2 infection rates (>8%) during the autumn term. INTERPRETATION: Despite large numbers of cases and outbreaks in universities, less than one in five students (17.8%) overall had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the end of the autumn term in England. In university halls of residence affected by a COVID-19 outbreak, however, nearly half the resident students became infected and developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , England/epidemiology , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Students , Universities , Young Adult
10.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 3: 100038, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1192394

ABSTRACT

Background: Care homes have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigated the potential role of asymptomatic infection and silent transmission in London care homes that reported no cases of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic. Methods: Five care homes with no cases and two care homes reporting a single case of COVID-19 (non-outbreak homes) were investigated with nasal swabbing for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and serology for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies five weeks later. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on RT-PCR positive samples. Serology results were compared with those of six care homes with recognised outbreaks. Findings: Across seven non-outbreak homes, 718 (387 staff, 331 residents) individuals had a nasal swab and 651 (386 staff, 265 residents) had follow-up serology. Sixteen individuals (13 residents, 3 staff) in five care homes with no reported cases were RT-PCR positive (care home positivity rates, 0 to 7.6%) compared to 13 individuals (3.0 and 10.8% positivity) in two homes reporting a single case.Seropositivity across these seven homes varied between 10.7-56.5%, with four exceeding community seroprevalence in London (14.8%). Seropositivity rates for staff and residents correlated significantly (rs 0.84, [95% CI 0.51-0.95] p <0.001) across the 13 homes. WGS identified multiple introductions into some homes and silent transmission of a single lineage between staff and residents in one home. Interpretation: We found high rates of asymptomatic infection and transmission even in care homes with no COVID-19 cases. The higher seropositivity rates compared to RT-PCR positivity highlights the true extent of the silent outbreak. Funding: PHE.

11.
Euro Surveill ; 26(12)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1154193

ABSTRACT

Sera were collected from 185 adults aged ≥ 70 years in London to evaluate the immune response to COVID-19 vaccines. A single dose of Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine resulted in > 94% seropositivity after 3 weeks in naïve individuals using the Roche Spike antibody assay, while two doses produced very high spike antibody levels, significantly higher than convalescent sera from mild-to-moderate PCR-confirmed adult cases. Our findings support the United Kingdom's approach of prioritising the first dose and delaying the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibody Formation , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Humans , London
12.
J Infect ; 82(5): 162-169, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1142042

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antibody waning after SARS-CoV-2 infection may result in reduction in long-term immunity following natural infection and vaccination, and is therefore a major public health issue. We undertook prospective serosurveillance in a large cohort of healthy adults from the start of the epidemic in England. METHODS: Clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers were recruited across three English regions and tested monthly from March to November 2020 for SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and nucleoprotein (N) antibodies using five different immunoassays. In positive individuals, antibody responses and long-term trends were modelled using mixed effects regression. FINDINGS: In total, 2246 individuals attended 12,247 visits and 264 were seropositive in ≥ 2 assays. Most seroconversions occurred between March and April 2020. The assays showed > 85% agreement for ever-positivity, although this changed markedly over time. Antibodies were detected earlier with Abbott (N) but declined rapidly thereafter. With the EuroImmun (S) and receptor-binding domain (RBD) assays, responses increased for 4 weeks then fell until week 12-16 before stabilising. For Roche (N), responses increased until 8 weeks, stabilised, then declined, but most remained above the positive threshold. For Roche (S), responses continued to climb over the full 24 weeks, with no sero-reversions. Predicted proportions sero-reverting after 52 weeks were 100% for Abbott, 59% (95% credible interval 50-68%) Euroimmun, 41% (30-52%) RBD, 10% (8-14%) Roche (N) < 2% Roche (S). INTERPRETATION: Trends in SARS-CoV-2 antibodies following infection are highly dependent on the assay used. Ongoing serosurveillance using multiple assays is critical for monitoring the course and long-term progression of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , England , Health Personnel , Humans , Prospective Studies , Public Health
13.
Euro Surveill ; 26(5)2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067625

ABSTRACT

Two London care homes experienced a second COVID-19 outbreak, with 29/209 (13.9%) SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR-positive cases (16/103 residents, 13/106 staff). In those with prior SARS-CoV-2 exposure, 1/88 (1.1%) individuals (antibody positive: 87; RT-PCR-positive: 1) became PCR-positive compared with 22/73 (30.1%) with confirmed seronegative status. After four months protection offered by prior infection against re-infection was 96.2% (95% confidence interval (CI): 72.7-99.5%) using risk ratios from comparison of proportions and 96.1% (95% CI: 78.8-99.3%) using a penalised logistic regression model.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Nursing Homes/statistics & numerical data , Reinfection/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Female , Humans , London , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Whole Genome Sequencing
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