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Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-326165


Background: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant evades immunity from past infection or vaccination and is associated with a greater risk of reinfection among recovered COVID-19 patients. We assessed the serum neutralizing antibody (NAb) activity against Omicron variant (Omicron NAb) among recovered COVID-19 patients with or without vaccination. Methods: In this prospective cohort study with 135 recovered COVID-19 patients, we determined the serum NAb titers against ancestral virus or variants using a live virus NAb assay. We used the receiver operating characteristic analysis to determine the optimal cutoff for a commercially-available surrogate NAb assay. Findings: Among recovered COVID-19 patients, the serum live virus geometric mean Omicron NAb titer was statistically significantly higher among BNT162b2 recipients compared to non-vaccinated individuals (85.4 vs 5.6, P<0.0001). The Omicron seropositive rates in live virus NAb test (NAb titer ≥10) were statistically significantly higher among BNT162b2 (93.5% [29/32];P<0.0001) or CoronaVac (36.7% [11/30];P=0.0115) recipients when compared with non-vaccinated individuals (12.3% [9/73]). Subgroup analysis of CoronaVac recipients showed that the Omicron seropositive rates were higher among individuals with two doses than those with one dose (85.7% vs 21.7%;P=0.0045). For the surrogate NAb assay, a cutoff of 109.1 AU/ml, which is 7.3-fold higher than the manufacturer’s recommended cutoff, could achieve a sensitivity and specificity of 89.5% and 89.8%, respectively, in detecting Omicron NAb. Interpretation: Among individuals with prior COVID-19, one dose of BNT162b2 and two doses of CoronaVac could induce detectable serum Omicron NAb. Our result would be particularly important for guiding vaccine policies in countries with COVID-19 vaccine shortage. Funding Information: This work was supported by Health and Medical Research Fund, the Food and Health Bureau, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Ref no.: COVID190124 and COVID1903010 [Project 1]), and donations of Richard Yu and Carol Yu, Shaw Foundation Hong Kong, Michael Seak-Kan Tong, May Tam Mak Mei Yin, Lee Wan Keung Charity Foundation Limited, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, Respiratory Viral Research Foundation Limited, Hui Ming, Hui Hoy and Chow Sin Lan Charity Fund Limited, Chan Yin Chuen Memorial Charitable Foundation, Marina Man-Wai Lee, the Hong Kong Hainan Commercial Association South China Microbiology Research Fund, the Jessie & George Ho Charitable Foundation, Kai Chong Tong, Tse Kam Ming Laurence, Foo Oi Foundation Limited, Betty Hing-Chu Lee, and Ping Cham So. Declaration of Interests: KYY and KKWT report collaboration with SinoVac and Sinopharm. Other authors declare no conflict of interest.