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Front Immunol ; 12: 709759, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450807


The clinical features of SARS-CoV-2 infection range from asymptomatic to severe disease with life-threatening complications. Understanding the persistence of immune responses in asymptomatic individuals merit special attention because of their importance in controlling the spread of the infections. We here studied the antibody and T cell responses, and a wide range of inflammation markers, in 56 SARS-CoV-2 antibody-positive individuals, identified by a population screen after the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection. These, mostly asymptomatic individuals, were reanalyzed 7-8 months after their infection together with 115 age-matched seronegative controls. We found that 7-8 months after the infection their antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) protein declined whereas we found no decrease in the antibodies to Spike receptor-binding domain (S-RBD) when compared to the findings at seropositivity identification. In contrast to antibodies to N protein, the antibodies to S-RBD correlated with the viral neutralization capacity and with CD4+ T cell responses as measured by antigen-specific upregulation of CD137 and CD69 markers. Unexpectedly we found the asymptomatic antibody-positive individuals to have increased serum levels of S100A12, TGF-alpha, IL18, and OSM, the markers of activated macrophages-monocytes, suggesting long-term persistent inflammatory effect associated with the viral infection in asymptomatic individuals. Our results support the evidence for the long-term persistence of the inflammation process and the need for post-infection clinical monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 infected asymptomatic individuals.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Inflammation Mediators/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Interleukin-18/blood , Macrophages/immunology , Monocytes/immunology , Oncostatin M/blood , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Domains/immunology , S100A12 Protein/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Transforming Growth Factor alpha/blood
Vaccine ; 39(38): 5376-5384, 2021 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1340875


PURPOSE: In Estonia, during the first wave of COVID-19 total number of cases confirmed by PCR was 13.3/10,000, similar in most regions, including capital Tallinn, but in the hotspot of Estonian epidemic, an island Saaremaa, the cumulative incidence was 166.1/10,000. We aimed to determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in these two regions, symptoms associated with infection and factors associated with antibody concentrations. METHODS: Participants were selected using stratified (formed by age decades) random sampling and recruited by general practitioners. IgG or neutralizing antibodies were determined from sera by four assays. Symptoms associated with seropositivity were analyzed by multiple correspondence analysis, antibody concentrations by multiple linear regression. RESULTS: Total of 3608 individual were invited and 1960 recruited from May 8 to July 31, 2020. Seroprevalence was 1.5% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.9-2.5) and 6.3% (95% CI 5.0-7.9), infection fatality rate 0.1% (95% CI 0.0-0.2) and 1.3% (95% CI 0.4-2.1) in Tallinn and Saaremaa, respectively. Of seropositive subjects 19.2% (14/73) had acute respiratory illness. Fever, diarrhea and the absence of cough and runny nose were associated with seropositivity in individuals aged 50 or more years. IgG, but not neutralizing antibodies concentrations were higher if fever, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain or diarrhea was present, or hospitalization required. CONCLUSION: Similarly to other European countries the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Estonia was low even in the hotspot region Saaremaa suggesting that majority of population is susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Focusing only on respiratory symptoms may delay accurate diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Estonia/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Prevalence , Seroepidemiologic Studies