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1.
Eur J Immunol ; 51(10): 2478-2484, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1340251

ABSTRACT

Treatment with convalescent plasma has been shown to be safe in coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19) infection, although efficacy reported in immunocompetent patients varies. Nevertheless, neutralizing antibodies are a key requisite in the fight against viral infections. Patients depleted of antibody-producing B cells, such as those treated with rituximab (anti-CD20) for hematological malignancies, lack a fundamental part of their adaptive immunity. Treatment with convalescent plasma appears to be of general benefit in this particularly vulnerable cohort. We analyzed clinical course and inflammation markers of three B-cell-depleted patients suffering from COVID-19 who were treated with convalescent plasma. In addition, we measured serum antibody levels as well as peripheral blood CD38/HLA-DR-positive T-cells ex vivo and CD137-positive T-cells after in vitro stimulation with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-derived peptides in these patients. We observed that therapy with convalescent plasma was effective in all three patients and analysis of CD137-positive T-cells after stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptides showed an increase in peptide-specific T-cells after application of convalescent plasma. In conclusion, we here demonstrate efficacy of convalescent plasma therapy in three B-cell-depleted patients and present data that suggest that while application of convalescent plasma elevates systemic antibody levels only transiently, it may also boost specific T-cell responses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adolescent , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunization, Passive/methods , Lymphocyte Count , Lymphocyte Depletion , Lymphoma, B-Cell/drug therapy , Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell/drug therapy , Male , Middle Aged , Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma/drug therapy , Rituximab/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Treatment Outcome , Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9/metabolism
3.
Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis ; 40(9): 1983-1997, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263157

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays are used for epidemiological studies and for the assessment of vaccine responses in highly vulnerable patients. So far, data on cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays is limited. Here, we compared four enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs; Vircell SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgA and IgG, Euroimmun SARS-CoV-2 IgA and IgG) for detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in 207 patients with COVID-19, 178 patients with serological evidence of different bacterial infections, 107 patients with confirmed viral respiratory disease, and 80 controls from the pre-COVID-19 era. In COVID-19 patients, the assays showed highest sensitivity in week 3 (Vircell-IgM/A and Euroimmun-IgA: 78.9% each) and after week 7 (Vircell-IgG: 97.9%; Euroimmun-IgG: 92.1%). The antibody indices were higher in patients with fatal disease. In general, IgM/IgA assays had only limited or no benefit over IgG assays. In patients with non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infections, IgG assays were more specific than IgM/IgA assays, and bacterial infections were associated with more false-positive results than viral infections. The specificities in bacterial and viral infections were 68.0 and 81.3% (Vircell-IgM/IgA), 84.8 and 96.3% (Euroimmun-IgA), 97.8 and 86.0% (Vircell-IgG), and 97.8 and 99.1% (Euroimmun-IgG), respectively. Sera from patients positive for antibodies against Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, and Legionella pneumophila yielded particularly high rates of unspecific false-positive results in the IgM/IgA assays, which was revealed by applying a highly specific flow-cytometric assay using HEK 293 T cells expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Positive results obtained with anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgA ELISAs require careful interpretation, especially if there is evidence for prior bacterial respiratory infections.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Bacterial Infections/diagnosis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Antibodies, Bacterial/blood , Bacterial Infections/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Respiratory Tract Infections/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
4.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264531

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection fatality ratios (IFR) remain controversially discussed with implications for political measures. The German county of Tirschenreuth suffered a severe SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in spring 2020, with particularly high case fatality ratio (CFR). To estimate seroprevalence, underreported infections, and IFR for the Tirschenreuth population aged ≥14 years in June/July 2020, we conducted a population-based study including home visits for the elderly, and analyzed 4203 participants for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies via three antibody tests. Latent class analysis yielded 8.6% standardized county-wide seroprevalence, a factor of underreported infections of 5.0, and 2.5% overall IFR. Seroprevalence was two-fold higher among medical workers and one third among current smokers with similar proportions of registered infections. While seroprevalence did not show an age-trend, the factor of underreported infections was 12.2 in the young versus 1.7 for ≥85-year-old. Age-specific IFRs were <0.5% below 60 years of age, 1.0% for age 60-69, and 13.2% for age 70+. Senior care homes accounted for 45% of COVID-19-related deaths, reflected by an IFR of 7.5% among individuals aged 70+ and an overall IFR of 1.4% when excluding senior care home residents from our computation. Our data underscore senior care home infections as key determinant of IFR additionally to age, insufficient targeted testing in the young, and the need for further investigations on behavioral or molecular causes of the fewer infections among current smokers.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Population Surveillance/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Latent Class Analysis , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , Seasons , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
5.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 27(9): 1353.e1-1353.e5, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1240261

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Detection and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 is of eminent importance, particularly due to the rapid emergence of variants of concern (VOCs). In this study we evaluated if a commercially available quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) assay can identify SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage samples by a specific N gene dropout or Ct value shift compared with the S or RdRp gene. METHODS: VOC B.1.1.7 and non-B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2-positive patient samples were identified via whole-genome sequencing and variant-specific PCR. Confirmed B.1.1.7 (n = 48) and non-B.1.1.7 samples (n = 58) were analysed using the Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV™ PCR assay for presence of SARS-CoV-2 S, RdRp and N genes. The N gene coding sequence of SARS-CoV-2 with and without the D3L mutation (specific for B.1.1.7) was cloned into pCR™II-TOPO™ vectors to validate polymorphism-dependent N gene dropout with the Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV™ PCR assay. RESULTS: All studied B.1.1.7-positive patient samples showed significantly higher Ct values in qRT-PCR (Δ6-10, N gene dropout on Ct values > 29) of N gene than the corresponding values of S (p ≤ 0.0001) and RdRp (p ≤ 0.0001) genes. The assay reliably discriminated B.1.1.7 and non-B.1.1.7 positive samples (area under the curve = 1) in a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Identical Ct value shifts (Δ7-10) were detected in reverse genetic experiments, using isolated plasmids containing N gene coding sequences corresponding to D3 or 3L variants. DISCUSSION: An N gene dropout or Ct value shift is shown for B.1.1.7-positive samples in the Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV™ PCR assay. This approach can be used as a rapid tool for B.1.1.7 detection in single assay high throughput diagnostics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Mutation , ROC Curve , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
7.
Transfusion ; 61(2): 368-374, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894804

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The frequency of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNAemia in blood donors is uncertain. Thus, assays for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in blood, validated on commercially available polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems, are required to allow a good comparability of data. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The cobas SARS-CoV-2 dual-target reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) assay, licensed for respiratory swab SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing, was validated for detection of viral RNA in blood. For the validation panel, SARS-CoV-2-positive plasma samples were prepared by spiking SARS-CoV-2-positive respiratory specimens in negative human plasma. The 95% limit of detection (LOD95) was determined by probit analysis. For clinical validation, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) convalescent plasma (CCP) donors and patients with COVID-19 with a severe disease course treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) were included. RESULTS: The validation of the SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay for blood demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity and intra- and inter-assay precision and efficiency. The LOD95 for SARS-CoV-2 RNA was 5.0 genome copies/mL (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.3-12 copies/mL) for target 1 and 4.3 genome copies/mL (95% CI, 2.9-10 copies/mL) for target 2. In a cohort of 39 CCP donors with 66 CCP donations no SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma was detected. Screening of 25 blood samples of 19 ICU patients with COVID-19 showed six positive results for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in at least one target of the assay. CONCLUSION: The SARS-CoV-2 RNA assay, only licensed for respiratory swabs, performed on a PCR system for high-throughput testing, showed a good assay performance for blood testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Blood Donors , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
8.
Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis ; 40(4): 751-759, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-880323

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has emerged as a previously unknown zoonotic coronavirus that spread worldwide causing a serious pandemic. While reliable nucleic acid-based diagnostic assays were rapidly available, only a limited number of validated serological assays were available in the early phase of the pandemic. Here, we evaluated a novel flow cytometric approach to assess spike-specific antibody responses.HEK 293T cells expressing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in its natural confirmation on the surface were used to detect specific IgG and IgM antibody responses in patient sera by flow cytometry. A soluble angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 (ACE-2) variant was developed as external standard to quantify spike-specific antibody responses on different assay platforms. Analyses of 201 pre-COVID-19 sera proved a high assay specificity in comparison to commercially available CLIA and ELISA systems, while also revealing the highest sensitivity in specimens from PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. The external standard allowed robust quantification of antibody responses among different assay platforms. In conclusion, our newly established flow cytometric assay allows sensitive and quantitative detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, which can be easily adopted in different laboratories and does not rely on external supply of assay kits. The flow cytometric assay also provides a blueprint for rapid development of serological tests to other emerging viral infections.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Flow Cytometry/methods , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Reference Standards , Reproducibility of Results , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
Euro Surveill ; 25(39)2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808986

ABSTRACT

We found that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the nucleoprotein gene of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from a patient interfered with detection in a widely used commercial assay. Some 0.2% of the isolates in the EpiCoV database contain this SNP. Although SARS-CoV-2 was still detected by the other probe in the assay, this underlines the necessity of targeting two independent essential regions of a pathogen for reliable detection.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Nucleoproteins/genetics , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Point Mutation , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Viral Proteins/genetics , Base Sequence , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/virology , DNA Primers , Diagnostic Errors , False Negative Reactions , Female , Genes, Viral , Humans , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Nucleoproteins/analysis , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Romania , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel-Related Illness , Viral Proteins/analysis
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