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1.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293006

ABSTRACT

Antibodies specific for the spike glycoprotein (S) and nucleocapsid (N) SARS-CoV-2 proteins are typically present during severe COVID-19, and induced to S after vaccination. The binding of viral antigens by antibody can initiate the classical complement pathway. Since complement could play pathological or protective roles at distinct times during SARS-CoV-2 infection we determined levels of antibody-dependent complement activation along the complement cascade. Here, we used an ELISA assay to assess complement protein binding (C1q) and the deposition of C4b, C3b, and C5b to S and N antigens in the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies from different test groups: non-infected, single and double vaccinees, non-hospitalised convalescent (NHC) COVID-19 patients and convalescent hospitalised (ITU-CONV) COVID-19 patients. C1q binding correlates strongly with antibody responses, especially IgG1 levels. However, detection of downstream complement components, C4b, C3b and C5b shows some variability associated with the antigen and subjects studied. In the ITU-CONV, detection of C3b-C5b to S was observed consistently, but this was not the case in the NHC group. This is in contrast to responses to N, where median levels of complement deposition did not differ between the NHC and ITU-CONV groups. Moreover, for S but not N, downstream complement components were only detected in sera with higher IgG1 levels. Therefore, the classical pathway is activated by antibodies to multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens, but the downstream effects of this activation may differ depending on the specific antigen targeted and the disease status of the subject.

2.
J Mol Biol ; 434(2): 167332, 2021 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492301

ABSTRACT

Extensive glycosylation of viral glycoproteins is a key feature of the antigenic surface of viruses and yet glycan processing can also be influenced by the manner of their recombinant production. The low yields of the soluble form of the trimeric spike (S) glycoprotein from SARS-CoV-2 has prompted advances in protein engineering that have greatly enhanced the stability and yields of the glycoprotein. The latest expression-enhanced version of the spike incorporates six proline substitutions to stabilize the prefusion conformation (termed SARS-CoV-2 S HexaPro). Although the substitutions greatly enhanced expression whilst not compromising protein structure, the influence of these substitutions on glycan processing has not been explored. Here, we show that the site-specific N-linked glycosylation of the expression-enhanced HexaPro resembles that of an earlier version containing two proline substitutions (2P), and that both capture features of native viral glycosylation. However, there are site-specific differences in glycosylation of HexaPro when compared to 2P. Despite these discrepancies, analysis of the serological reactivity of clinical samples from infected individuals confirmed that both HexaPro and 2P protein are equally able to detect IgG, IgA, and IgM responses in all sera analysed. Moreover, we extend this observation to include an analysis of glycan engineered S protein, whereby all N-linked glycans were converted to oligomannose-type and conclude that serological activity is not impacted by large scale changes in glycosylation. These observations suggest that variations in glycan processing will not impact the serological assessments currently being performed across the globe.

3.
BMJ Open Respir Res ; 8(1)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438095

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To determine clinical and ethnodemographic correlates of serological responses against the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein following mild-to-moderate COVID-19. DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study of healthcare workers who had self-isolated due to COVID-19. SETTING: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, UK (UHBFT). PARTICIPANTS: 956 healthcare workers were recruited by open invitation via UHBFT trust email and social media between 27 April 2020 and the 8 June 2020. INTERVENTION: Participants volunteered a venous blood sample that was tested for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein antibodies. Results were interpreted in the context of the symptoms of their original illness and ethnodemographic variables. RESULTS: Using an assay that simultaneously measures the combined IgG, IgA and IgM response against the spike glycoprotein (IgGAM), the overall seroprevalence within this cohort was 46.2% (n=442/956). The seroprevalence of immunoglobulin isotypes was 36.3%, 18.7% and 8.1% for IgG, IgA and IgM, respectively. IgGAM identified serological responses in 40.6% (n=52/128) of symptomatic individuals who reported a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test. Increasing age, non-white ethnicity and obesity were independently associated with greater IgG antibody response against the spike glycoprotein. Self-reported fever and fatigue were associated with greater IgG and IgA responses against the spike glycoprotein. The combination of fever and/or cough and/or anosmia had a positive predictive value of 92.3% for seropositivity in self-isolating individuals a time when Wuhan strain SARS-CoV-2 was predominant. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Assays employing combined antibody detection demonstrate enhanced seroepidemiological sensitivity and can detect prior viral exposure even when PCR swabs have been negative. We demonstrate an association between known ethnodemographic risk factors associated with mortality from COVID-19 and the magnitude of serological responses in mild-to-moderate disease.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibody Formation , COVID-19 , Adult , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Seroepidemiologic Studies , United Kingdom
5.
Immunology ; 164(1): 135-147, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295026

ABSTRACT

Detecting antibody responses during and after SARS-CoV-2 infection is essential in determining the seroepidemiology of the virus and the potential role of antibody in disease. Scalable, sensitive and specific serological assays are essential to this process. The detection of antibody in hospitalized patients with severe disease has proven relatively straightforward; detecting responses in subjects with mild disease and asymptomatic infections has proven less reliable. We hypothesized that the suboptimal sensitivity of antibody assays and the compartmentalization of the antibody response may contribute to this effect. We systematically developed an ELISA, optimizing different antigens and amplification steps, in serum and saliva from non-hospitalized SARS-CoV-2-infected subjects. Using trimeric spike glycoprotein, rather than nucleocapsid, enabled detection of responses in individuals with low antibody responses. IgG1 and IgG3 predominate to both antigens, but more anti-spike IgG1 than IgG3 was detectable. All antigens were effective for detecting responses in hospitalized patients. Anti-spike IgG, IgA and IgM antibody responses were readily detectable in saliva from a minority of RT-PCR confirmed, non-hospitalized symptomatic individuals, and these were mostly subjects who had the highest levels of anti-spike serum antibodies. Therefore, detecting antibody responses in both saliva and serum can contribute to determining virus exposure and understanding immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Saliva
6.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 26(12): 2970-2973, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792953

ABSTRACT

Dried blood spot (DBS) samples can be used for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 spike antibodies. DBS sampling is comparable to matched serum samples with a relative 98.1% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Thus, DBS sampling offers an alternative for population-wide serologic testing in the coronavirus pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Dried Blood Spot Testing/methods , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Case-Control Studies , Dried Blood Spot Testing/economics , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification
7.
Thorax ; 75(12): 1089-1094, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760280

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To determine the rates of asymptomatic viral carriage and seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in healthcare workers. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of asymptomatic healthcare workers undertaken on 24/25 April 2020. SETTING: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT), UK. PARTICIPANTS: 545 asymptomatic healthcare workers were recruited while at work. Participants were invited to participate via the UHBFT social media. Exclusion criteria included current symptoms consistent with COVID-19. No potential participants were excluded. INTERVENTION: Participants volunteered a nasopharyngeal swab and a venous blood sample that were tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein antibodies, respectively. Results were interpreted in the context of prior illnesses and the hospital departments in which participants worked. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Proportion of participants demonstrating infection and positive SARS-CoV-2 serology. RESULTS: The point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 viral carriage was 2.4% (n=13/545). The overall seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 24.4% (n=126/516). Participants who reported prior symptomatic illness had higher seroprevalence (37.5% vs 17.1%, χ2=21.1034, p<0.0001) and quantitatively greater antibody responses than those who had remained asymptomatic. Seroprevalence was greatest among those working in housekeeping (34.5%), acute medicine (33.3%) and general internal medicine (30.3%), with lower rates observed in participants working in intensive care (14.8%). BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) ethnicity was associated with a significantly increased risk of seropositivity (OR: 1.92, 95% CI 1.14 to 3.23, p=0.01). Working on the intensive care unit was associated with a significantly lower risk of seropositivity compared with working in other areas of the hospital (OR: 0.28, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.78, p=0.02). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: We identify differences in the occupational risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 between hospital departments and confirm asymptomatic seroconversion occurs in healthcare workers. Further investigation of these observations is required to inform future infection control and occupational health practices.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Diseases , COVID-19/diagnosis , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Seroepidemiologic Studies
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