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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22273175


BackgroundThe protective immunity against Omicron following a BNT162b2 Pfizer booster dose among elderly is not well characterized. MethodsThirty-eight residents from three nursing homes were recruited for the study. Antibodies targeting the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 were measured with the S-Flow assay. Neutralizing activities in sera were measured as effective dilution 50% (ED50) with the S-Fuse assay using authentic isolates of Delta and Omicron. ResultsAmong the 38 elderly included in the study, with median (inter-quartile range, IQR) age of 88 (81-92) years, 30 (78.9%) had been previously infected. The ED50 of neutralization were lower against Omicron than Delta, and higher among convalescent compared to naive residents. During an Omicron epidemic affecting two of the three nursing homes in December 2021-January 2022, 75% (6/8) of naive residents got infected, compared to 25% (6/24) of convalescents (P=0.03). Antibody levels to Spike and ED50 of neutralization against Omicron after the BNT162b2 booster dose were lower in those with breakthrough infection (n=12) compared to those without (n=20): median of 1256 vs 2523 BAU/mL (P=0.02) and median ED50 of 234 vs 1298 (P=0.0004), respectively. ConclusionThis study confirmed the importance of receiving at least three antigenic exposures to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein for achieving satisfactory neutralizing antibody levels. In this population, protection against Omicron infection was increased in individuals who had been previously infected in addition to the three vaccine doses. Thus, a fourth antigenic exposure may be useful in the elderly population to prevent infection with Omicron, a variant known for its high escape immunity properties.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21252532


Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces a complex antibody response that varies by orders of magnitude between individuals and over time. Waning antibody levels lead to reduced sensitivity of serological diagnostic tests over time. This undermines the utility of serological surveillance as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic progresses into its second year. Here we develop a multiplex serological test for measuring antibodies of three isotypes (IgG, IgM, IgA) to five SARS-CoV-2 antigens (Spike (S), receptor binding domain (RBD), Nucleocapsid (N), Spike subunit 2, Membrane-Envelope fusion) and the Spike proteins of four seasonal coronaviruses. We measure antibody responses in several cohorts of French and Irish hospitalized patients and healthcare workers followed for up to eleven months after symptom onset. The data are analysed with a mathematical model of antibody kinetics to quantify the duration of antibody responses accounting for inter-individual variation. One year after symptoms, we estimate that 36% (95% range: 11%, 94%) of anti-S IgG remains, 31% (9%, 89%) anti-RBD IgG remains, and 7% (1%, 31%) anti-N IgG remains. Antibodies of the IgM isotype waned more rapidly, with 9% (2%, 32%) anti-RBD IgM remaining after one year. Antibodies of the IgA isotype also waned rapidly, with 10% (3%, 38%) anti-RBD IgA remaining after one year. Quantitative measurements of antibody responses were used to train machine learning algorithms for classification of previous infection and estimation of time since infection. The resulting diagnostic test classified previous infections with 99% specificity and 98% (95% confidence interval: 94%, 99%) sensitivity, with no evidence for declining sensitivity over the time scale considered. The diagnostic test also provided accurate classification of time since infection into intervals of 0 - 3 months, 3 - 6 months, and 6 - 12 months. Finally, we present a computational method for serological reconstruction of past SARS-CoV-2 transmission using the data from this test when applied to samples from a single cross-sectional sero-prevalence survey.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20213116


BackgroundAssessment of cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections is critical for monitoring the course and the extent of the epidemic. As asymptomatic or mild cases were typically not captured by surveillance data in France, we implemented nationwide serological surveillance. We present estimates for prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the French population and the proportion of infected individuals who developed potentially protective neutralizing antibodies throughout the first epidemic wave. MethodsWe performed serial cross-sectional sampling of residual sera over three periods: prior to (9-15 March), during (6-12 April) and following (11-17 May) a nationwide lockdown. Each sample was tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies targeting the Nucleoprotein and Spike using two Luciferase-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays, and for neutralising antibodies using a pseudo-neutralisation assay. We fitted a general linear mixed model of seropositivity in a Bayesian framework to derive prevalence estimates stratified by age, sex and region. FindingsIn total, sera from 11 021 individuals were analysed. Nationwide seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was estimated at 0.41% [0.05-0.88] mid-March, 4.14% [3.31-4.99] mid-April and 4.93% [4.02-5.89] mid-May. Approximately 70% of seropositive individuals had detectable neutralising antibodies. Seroprevalence was higher in regions where circulation occurred earlier and was more intense. Seroprevalence was lowest in children under 10 years of age (2.72% [1.10-4.87]). InterpretationSeroprevalence estimates confirm that the nationwide lockdown substantially curbed transmission and that the vast majority of the French population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Low seroprevalence in school age children suggests limited susceptibility and/or transmissibility in this age group. Our results show a clear picture of the progression of the first epidemic wave and provide a framework to inform the ongoing public health response as viral transmission is picking up again in France and globally. FundingSante publique France.