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Lancet Healthy Longev ; 3(1): e13-e21, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586149


Background: Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have reported high SARS-CoV-2 infection rates and related mortality, but the proportion of infected people among those who have survived, and duration of the antibody response to natural infection, is unknown. We determined the prevalence and stability of nucleocapsid antibodies (the standard assay for detection of previous infection) in staff and residents in LTCFs in England. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of residents 65 years or older and of staff 65 years or younger in 201 LTCFs in England between March 1, 2020, and May 7, 2021. Participants were linked to a unique pseudo-identifier based on their UK National Health Service identification number. Serial blood samples were tested for IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein using the Abbott ARCHITECT i-system (Abbott, Maidenhead, UK) immunoassay. Primary endpoints were prevalence and cumulative incidence of antibody positivity, which were weighted to the LTCF population. Incidence rate of loss of antibodies (seroreversion) was estimated from Kaplan-Meier curves. Findings: 9488 samples were included, 8636 (91·0%) of which could be individually linked to 1434 residents and 3288 staff members. The cumulative incidence of nucleocapsid seropositivity was 34·6% (29·6-40·0) in residents and 26·1% (23·0-29·5) in staff over 11 months. 239 (38·6%) residents and 503 women (81·3%) were included in the antibody-waning analysis, and median follow-up was 149 days (IQR 107-169). The incidence rate of seroreversion was 2·1 per 1000 person-days at risk, and median time to reversion was 242·5 days. Interpretation: At least a quarter of staff and a third of surviving residents were infected with SAR-CoV-2 during the first two waves of the pandemic in England. Nucleocapsid-specific antibodies often become undetectable within the first year following infection, which is likely to lead to marked underestimation of the true proportion of people with previous infection. Given that natural infection might act to boost vaccine responses, better assays to identify natural infection should be developed. Funding: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.

Preprint | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-297180


Background: Age and frailty are risk factors for poor clinical outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection. As such, COVID-19 vaccination has been prioritised for this group but there is concern that immune responses may be impaired due to immune senescence and co-morbidity. Methods: We studied antibody and cellular immune responses following COVID-19 vaccination in 202 staff and 286 residents of long-term care facilities (LTCF). Due to the high prevalence of previous infection within this environment 50% and 51% of these two groups respectively had serological evidence of prior natural SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results: In both staff and residents with previous infection the antibody responses following dual vaccination were strong and equivalent across the age course. In contrast, within infection-naïve donors these responses were reduced by 2.4-fold and 8.1-fold respectively such that values within the resident population were 2.6-fold lower than in staff. Impaired neutralisation of delta variant spike binding was also apparent within donors without prior infection. Spike-specific T cell responses were also markedly enhanced by prior infection and within infection-naive donors were 52% lower within residents compared to staff. Post-vaccine spike-specific CD4+ T cell responses displayed single or dual production of IFN-γ+ and IL-2+ whilst previous infection primed for an extended functional profile with TNF-ɑ+ and CXCL10 production. Interpretation: These data reveal suboptimal post-vaccine immune responses within infection-naïve elderly residents of LTCF and indicate the need for further optimization of immune protection through the use of booster vaccination.

Lancet Healthy Longev ; 2(9): e544-e553, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433991


Background: Residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have been prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination because of the high COVID-19 mortality in this population. Several countries have implemented an extended interval of up to 12 weeks between the first and second vaccine doses to increase population coverage of single-dose vaccination. We aimed to assess the magnitude and quality of adaptive immune responses following a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine in LTCF residents and staff. Methods: From the LTCFs participating in the ongoing VIVALDI study (ISRCTN14447421), staff and residents who had received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2 [tozinameran] or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), had pre-vaccination and post-vaccination blood samples (collected between Dec 11, 2020, and Feb 16, 2021), and could be linked to a pseudoidentifier in the COVID-19 Data Store were included in our cohort. Past infection with SARS-CoV-2 was defined on the basis of nucleocapsid-specific IgG antibodies being detected through a semiquantitative immunoassay, and participants who tested positive on this assay after but not before vaccination were excluded from the study. Processed blood samples were assessed for spike-specific immune responses, including spike-specific IgG antibody titres, T-cell responses to spike protein peptide mixes, and inhibition of ACE2 binding by spike protein from four variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the original strain as well as the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variants). Responses before and after vaccination were compared on the basis of age, previous infection status, role (staff or resident), and time since vaccination. Findings: Our cohort comprised 124 participants from 14 LTCFs: 89 (72%) staff (median age 48 years [IQR 35·5-56]) and 35 (28%) residents (87 years [77-90]). Blood samples were collected a median 40 days (IQR 25-47; range 6-52) after vaccination. 30 (24%) participants (18 [20%] staff and 12 [34%] residents) had serological evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. All participants with previous infection had high antibody titres following vaccination that were independent of age (r s=0·076, p=0·70). In participants without evidence of previous infection, titres were negatively correlated with age (r s=-0·434, p<0·0001) and were 8·2-times lower in residents than in staff. This effect appeared to result from a kinetic delay antibody generation in older infection-naive participants, with the negative age correlation disappearing only in samples taken more than 42 days post-vaccination (r s=-0·207, p=0·20; n=40), in contrast to samples taken after 0-21 days (r s=-0·774, p=0·0043; n=12) or 22-42 days (r s=-0·437, p=0·0034; n=43). Spike-specific cellular responses were similar between older and younger participants. In infection-naive participants, antibody inhibition of ACE2 binding by spike protein from the original SARS-CoV-2 strain was negatively correlated with age (r s=-0·439, p<0·0001), and was significantly lower against spike protein from the B.1.351 variant (median inhibition 31% [14-100], p=0·010) and the P.1 variant (23% [14-97], p<0·0001) than against the original strain (58% [27-100]). By contrast, a single dose of vaccine resulted in around 100% inhibition of the spike-ACE2 interaction against all variants in people with a history of infection. Interpretation: History of SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts the magnitude and quality of antibody response after a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine in LTCF residents. Residents who are infection-naive have delayed antibody responses to the first dose of vaccine and should be considered for an early second dose where possible. Funding: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.