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1.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-516888

ABSTRACT

Convergent evolution of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 lineages has led to the emergence of several new subvariants, including BA.2.75.2, BA.4.6. and BQ.1.1. The subvariants BA.2.75.2 and BQ.1.1 are expected to become predominant in many countries in November 2022. They carry an additional and often redundant set of mutations in the spike, likely responsible for increased transmissibility and immune evasion. Here, we established a viral amplification procedure to easily isolate Omicron strains. We examined their sensitivity to 6 therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and to 72 sera from Pfizer BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals, with or without BA.1/BA.2 or BA.5 breakthrough infection. Ronapreve (Casirivimab and Imdevimab) and Evusheld (Cilgavimab and Tixagevimab) lost any antiviral efficacy against BA.2.75.2 and BQ.1.1, whereas Xevudy (Sotrovimab) remained weakly active. BQ.1.1 was also resistant to Bebtelovimab. Neutralizing titers in triply vaccinated individuals were low to undetectable against BQ.1.1 and BA.2.75.2, 4 months after boosting. A BA.1/BA.2 breakthrough infection increased these titers, which remained about 18-fold lower against BA.2.75.2 and BQ.1.1, than against BA.1. Reciprocally, a BA.5 breakthrough infection increased more efficiently neutralization against BA.5 and BQ.1.1 than against BA.2.75.2. Thus, the evolution trajectory of novel Omicron subvariants facilitated their spread in immunized populations and raises concerns about the efficacy of most currently available mAbs.

2.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-501370

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease affecting multiple organs including the central nervous system (CNS), with a characteristic loss of smell and taste. Although frequently reported, the neurological symptoms remain enigmatic. There is no consensus on the extent of CNS infection. Here, we derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and cortical excitatory neurons to study their permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Flow cytometry and western blot analysis indicated that NPCs and neurons do not express detectable levels of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2. We thus generated cells expressing ACE2 by lentiviral transduction to analyze in a controlled manner the properties of SARS-CoV-2 infection relative to ACE2 expression. Sensitivity of parental and ACE2 expressing cells was assessed with GFP- or luciferase-carrying pseudoviruses and with authentic SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan, D614G, Alpha or Delta variants. SARS-CoV-2 replication was assessed by microscopy, RT-qPCR and infectivity assays. Pseudoviruses infected only cells overexpressing ACE2. Neurons and NPCs were unable to efficiently replicate SARS-CoV-2, whereas ACE2 overexpressing neurons were highly sensitive to productive infection. Altogether, our results indicate that primary NPCs and cortical neurons remain poorly permissive to SARS-CoV-2 across the variants spectrum, in the absence of ACE2 expression.

3.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-486719

ABSTRACT

Memory B-cell and antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein contribute to long-term immune protection against severe COVID-19, which can also be prevented by antibody-based interventions. Here, wide SARS-CoV-2 immunoprofiling in COVID-19 convalescents combining serological, cellular and monoclonal antibody explorations, revealed humoral immunity coordination. Detailed characterization of a hundred SARS-CoV-2 spike memory B-cell monoclonal antibodies uncovered diversity in their repertoire and antiviral functions. The latter were influenced by the targeted spike region with strong Fc-dependent effectors to the S2 subunit and potent neutralizers to the receptor binding domain. Amongst those, Cv2.1169 and Cv2.3194 antibodies cross-neutralized SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern including Omicron BA.1 and BA.2. Cv2.1169, isolated from a mucosa-derived IgA memory B cell, demonstrated potency boost as IgA dimers and therapeutic efficacy as IgG antibodies in animal models. Structural data provided mechanistic clues to Cv2.1169 potency and breadth. Thus, potent broadly neutralizing IgA antibodies elicited in mucosal tissues can stem SARS-CoV-2 infection, and Cv2.1169 and Cv2.3194 are prime candidates for COVID-19 prevention and treatment.

4.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-448011

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is characterized by lung abnormalities, including the presence of syncytial pneumocytes. Syncytia form when SARS-CoV-2 spike protein expressed on the surface of infected cells interacts with the ACE2 receptor on neighbouring cells. The syncytia forming potential of spike variant proteins remain poorly characterized. Here, we first assessed Alpha and Beta spread and fusion in cell cultures. Alpha and Beta replicated similarly to D614G reference strain in Vero, Caco-2, Calu-3 and primary airway cells. However, Alpha and Beta formed larger and more numerous syncytia. Alpha, Beta and D614G fusion was similarly inhibited by interferon induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs). Individual mutations present in Alpha and Beta spikes differentially modified fusogenicity, binding to ACE2 and recognition by monoclonal antibodies. We further show that Delta spike also triggers faster fusion relative to D614G. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 emerging variants display enhanced syncytia formation. SynopsisThe Spike protein of the novel SARS-CoV-2 variants are comparative more fusogenic than the earlier strains. The mutations in the variant spike protein differential modulate syncytia formation, ACE2 binding, and antibody escape. O_LIThe spike protein of Alpha, Beta and Delta, in the absence of other viral proteins, induce more syncytia than D614G C_LIO_LIThe ACE2 affinity of the variant spike proteins correlates to their fusogenicity C_LIO_LIVariant associated mutations P681H, D1118H, and D215G augment cell-cell fusion, while antibody escape mutation E484K, K417N and {Delta}242-244 hamper it. C_LIO_LIVariant spike-mediated syncytia formation is effectively restricted by IFITMs C_LI

5.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21257393

ABSTRACT

The mechanisms that allowed for the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant to rapidly outcompete pre-existing variants in many countries remain poorly characterized. Here, we analyzed viral release, anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and cytokine production in a retrospective series of 427 RT-qPCR+ nasopharyngeal swabs collected in COVID-19 patients harbouring either non-B.1.1.7 or B.1.17 variants. We utilized a novel rapid assay, based on S-Fuse-T reporter cells, to quantify infectious SARS-CoV-2. With both non-B.1.1.7 and B.1.1.7 variants, viral titers were highly variable, ranging from 0 to >106 infectious units, and correlated with viral RNA levels. Lateral flow antigenic rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were positive in 96% of the samples harbouring infectious virus. About 67 % of individuals carried detectable infectious virus within the first two days after onset of symptoms. This proportion decreased overtime, and viable virus was detected up to 14 days. Samples containing anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG or IgA did not generally harbour infectious virus. The proportion of individuals displaying viable virus or being RDT-positive was not higher with B.1.1.7 than with non-B.1.1.7 variants. Ct values were slightly but not significantly lower with B.1.1.7. The variant was characterized by a fast decrease of infectivity overtime and a marked release of 17 cytokines (including IFN-{beta}, IP-10, IL-10 and TRAIL). Our results highlight differences between non-B.1.1.7 and B.1.1.7 variants. B.1.1.7 is associated with modified viral decays and cytokine profiles at the nasopharyngeal mucosae during symptomatic infection.

6.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21251633

ABSTRACT

Coordinated local mucosal and systemic immune responses following SARS-CoV-2 infection protect against COVID-19 pathologies or fail leading to severe clinical outcomes. To understand this process, we performed an integrated analysis of SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific antibodies, cytokines, viral load and 16S bacterial communities in paired nasopharyngeal swabs and plasma samples from a cohort of clinically distinct COVID-19 patients during acute infection. Plasma viral load was associated with systemic inflammatory cytokines that were elevated in severe COVID-19, and also with spike-specific neutralizing antibodies. In contrast, nasopharyngeal viral load correlated with SARS-CoV-2 humoral responses but inversely with interferon responses, the latter associating with protective microbial communities. Potential pathogenic microrganisms, often implicated in secondary respiratory infections, were associated with mucosal inflammation and elevated in severe COVID-19. Our results demonstrate distinct tissue compartmentalization of SARS-CoV-2 immune responses and highlight a role for the nasopharyngeal microbiome in regulating local and systemic immunity that determines COVID-19 clinical outcomes.

7.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-432486

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is generally milder than in adults, yet a proportion of cases result in hyperinflammatory conditions often including myocarditis. To better understand these cases, we applied a multi-parametric approach to the study of blood cells of 56 children hospitalized with suspicion of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The most severe forms of MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children related to SARS-CoV-2), that resulted in myocarditis, were characterized by elevated levels of pro-angiogenesis cytokines and several chemokines. Single-cell transcriptomic analyses identified a unique monocyte/dendritic cell gene signature that correlated with the occurrence of severe myocarditis, characterized by sustained NF-{kappa}B activity, TNF- signaling, associated with decreased gene expression of NF-{kappa}B inhibitors. We also found a weak response to type-I and type-II interferons, hyperinflammation and response to oxidative stress related to increased HIF-1 and VEGF signaling. These results provide potential for a better understanding of disease pathophysiology.

8.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-430472

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants emerged respectively in United Kingdom and South Africa and spread in many countries. Here, we isolated infectious B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 strains and examined their sensitivity to anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies present in sera and nasal swabs, in comparison with a D614G reference virus. We established a novel rapid neutralization assay, based on reporter cells that become GFP+ after overnight infection. B.1.1.7 was neutralized by 79/83 sera from convalescent patients collected up to 9 months post symptoms, almost similar to D614G. There was a mean 6-fold reduction in titers and even loss of activity against B.1.351 in 40% of convalescent sera after 9 months. Early sera from 19 vaccinated individuals were almost as potent against B.1.1.7 but less efficacious against B.1.351, when compared to D614G. Nasal swabs from vaccine recipients were not neutralizing, except in individuals who were diagnosed COVID-19+ before vaccination. Thus, faster-spreading variants acquired a partial resistance to humoral immunity generated by natural infection or vaccination, mostly visible in individuals with low antibody levels.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20230508

ABSTRACT

A large proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals remains asymptomatic. Little is known about the extent and quality of their antiviral humoral response. Here, we analyzed antibody functions in 52 asymptomatic infected individuals, 119 mild and 21 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. We measured anti-Spike antibody levels with the S-Flow assay and mapped SARS-CoV-2 Spike- and N-targeted regions by Luminex. Neutralization, complement deposition and Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC) were evaluated using replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 or reporter cell systems. We show that COVID-19 sera mediate complement deposition and kill infected cells by ADCC. Sera from asymptomatic individuals neutralize the virus, activate ADCC and trigger complement deposition. Antibody levels and activities are slightly lower in asymptomatic individuals. The different functions of the antibodies are correlated, independently of disease severity. Longitudinal samplings show that antibody functions follow similar kinetics of induction and contraction, with minor variations. Overall, asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection elicits polyfunctional antibodies neutralizing the virus and targeting infected cells. - Sera from convalescent COVID-19 patients activate the complement and kill infected cells by ADCC. - Asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals harbor polyfunctional antibodies. - Antibody levels and functions are slightly lower in asymptomatic individuals - The different antiviral activities of anti-Spike antibodies are correlated regardless of disease severity. - Functions of anti-Spike antibodies have similar kinetics of induction and contraction.

10.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20230466

ABSTRACT

The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 humoral response in infected individuals remains poorly characterized. Here, we performed a longitudinal study of sera from 308 RT-qPCR+ individuals with mild disease, collected at two time-points, up to 6 months post-onset of symptoms (POS). We performed two anti-S and one anti-N serology assays and quantified neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). At month 1 (M1), males, individuals > 50 years of age or with a body mass index (BMI) > 25 exhibited higher levels of antibodies. Antibody levels decreased over time. At M3-6, anti-S antibodies persisted in 99% of individuals while anti-N IgG were measurable in only 59% of individuals. The decline in anti-S and NAbs was faster in males than in females, independently of age and BMI. Our results show that some serology tests are less reliable overtime and suggest that the duration of protection after SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination will be different in women and men.

11.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20140178

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe extent of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among pupils in primary schools and their families is unknown. MethodsBetween 28-30 April 2020, a retrospective cohort study was conducted among pupils, their parents and relatives, and staff of primary schools exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in February and March 2020 in a city north of Paris, France. Participants completed a questionnaire that covered sociodemographic information and history of recent symptoms. A blood sample was tested for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using a flow-cytometry-based assay. ResultsThe infection attack rate (IAR) was 45/510 (8.8%), 3/42 (7.1%), 1/28 (3.6%), 76/641 (11.9%) and 14/119 (11.8%) among primary school pupils, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents, and relatives, respectively (P = 0.29). Prior to school closure on February 14, three SARS-CoV-2 infected pupils attended three separate schools with no secondary cases in the following 14 days among pupils, teachers and non-teaching staff of the same schools. Familial clustering of cases was documented by the high proportion of antibodies among parents and relatives of infected pupils (36/59 = 61.0% and 4/9 = 44.4%, respectively). In children, disease manifestations were mild, and 24/58 (41.4%) of infected children were asymptomatic. InterpretationIn young children, SARS-CoV-2 infection was largely mild or asymptomatic and there was no evidence of onwards transmission from children in the school setting.

12.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20101832

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe serologic response of individuals with mild forms of SARS-CoV-2 infection is poorly characterized. MethodsHospital staff who had recovered from mild forms of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using two assays: a rapid immunodiagnostic test (99.4% specificity) and the S-Flow assay ([~]99% specificity).The neutralizing activity of the sera was tested with a pseudovirus-based assay. ResultsOf 162 hospital staff who participated in the investigation, 160 reported SARS-CoV-2 infection that had not required hospital admission and were included in these analyses. The median time from symptom onset to blood sample collection was 24 days (IQR: 21-28, range 13-39). The rapid immunodiagnostic test detected antibodies in 153 (95.6%) of the samples and the S-Flow assay in 159 (99.4%), failing to detect antibodies in one sample collected 18 days after symptom onset (the rapid test did not detect antibodies in that patient). Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) were detected in 79%, 92% and 98% of samples collected 13-20, 21-27 and 28-41 days after symptom onset, respectively (P=0.02). ConclusionAntibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in virtually all hospital staff sampled from 13 days after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. This finding supports the use of serologic testing for the diagnosis of individuals who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. The neutralizing activity of the antibodies increased overtime. Future studies will help assess the persistence of the humoral response and its associated neutralization capacity in recovered patients.

13.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20068858

ABSTRACT

It is of paramount importance to evaluate the prevalence of both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and their antibody response profile. Here, we performed a pilot study to assess the levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in samples taken from 491 pre-epidemic individuals, 51 patients from Hopital Bichat (Paris), 209 pauci-symptomatic individuals in the French Oise region and 200 contemporary Oise blood donors. Two in-house ELISA assays, that recognize the full-length nucleoprotein (N) or trimeric Spike (S) ectodomain were implemented. We also developed two novel assays: the S-Flow assay, which is based on the recognition of S at the cell surface by flow-cytometry, and the LIPS assay that recognizes diverse antigens (including S1 or N C-terminal domain) by immunoprecipitation. Overall, the results obtained with the four assays were similar, with differences in sensitivity that can be attributed to the technique and the antigen in use. High antibody titers were associated with neutralisation activity, assessed using infectious SARS-CoV-2 or lentiviral-S pseudotypes. In hospitalized patients, seroconversion and neutralisation occurred on 5-14 days post symptom onset, confirming previous studies. Seropositivity was detected in 29% of pauci-symptomatic individuals within 15 days post-symptoms and 3 % of blood of healthy donors collected in the area of a cluster of COVID cases. Altogether, our assays allow for a broad evaluation of SARS-CoV2 seroprevalence and antibody profiling in different population subsets.

14.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20071134

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe Oise department in France has been heavily affected by COVID-19 in early 2020. MethodsBetween 30 March and 4 April 2020, we conducted a retrospective closed cohort study among pupils, their parents and siblings, as well as teachers and non-teaching staff of a high-school located in Oise. Participants completed a questionnaire that covered history of fever and/or respiratory symptoms since 13 January 2020 and had blood tested for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The infection attack rate (IAR) was defined as the proportion of participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection based on antibody detection. Blood samples from two blood donor centres collected between 23 and 27 March 2020 in the Oise department were also tested for presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. FindingsOf the 661 participants (median age: 37 years), 171 participants had anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The overall IAR was 25.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 22.6-29.4), and the infection fatality rate was 0% (one-sided 97.5% CI = 0 - 2.1). Nine of the ten participants hospitalised since mid-January were in the infected group, giving a hospitalisation rate of 5.3% (95% CI = 2.4 -9.8). Anosmia and ageusia had high positive predictive values for SARS-CoV-2 infection (84.7% and 88.1%, respectively). Smokers had a lower IAR compared to non-smokers (7.2% versus 28.0%, P <0.001). The proportion of infected individuals who had no symptoms during the study period was 17.0% (95% CI = - 23.4). The proportion of donors with anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in two nearby blood banks of the Oise department was 3.0% (95% CI = 1.1 - 6.4). InterpretationThe relatively low IAR observed in an area where SARS-CoV-2 actively circulated weeks before confinement measures indicates that establishing herd immunity will take time, and that lifting these measures in France will be long and complex. FundingInstitut Pasteur, CNRS, Universite de Paris, Sante publique France, Labex IBEID (ANR-10-LABX-62-IBEID), REACTing, EU grant Recover, INCEPTION project (PIA/ANR-16-CONV-0005). Research in contextO_ST_ABSEvidence before the studyC_ST_ABSThe first COVID-19 cases in France were reported on 24 January 2020. Substantial transmission has occurred since then, with the Oise department, north of Paris, one of the heaviest affected areas in the early stages of the epidemic in France. As of 13 April 2020, 98,076 cases had been diagnosed in France, including 5,379 deaths. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with COVID-19 have been widely reported, but this has largely been centred on cases requiring medical care. What remains unclear at this stage is the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 infections may be asymptomatic or present as subclinical, non-specific symptoms. While extensive contact tracing has identified asymptomatic infections using RT-PCR testing, serologic detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is needed to determine the real infection attack rate and the proportion of all infections that are asymptomatic or subclinical. Added value of this studyUsing a combination of serologic assays with high sensitivity and specificity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, we conducted a retrospective closed cohort study. In a high school linked to a cluster of COVID-19 in the Oise department, we showed an overall infection attack rate (IAR) of 40.9% in the high school group, and 10.9% in parents and siblings of the pupils. The proportion of infected individuals who had no symptoms during the study period was 17.0%. Implications of all of the available evidenceThe relatively low IAR in this area where SARS-CoV-2 actively circulated before confinement measures were introduced indicates that establishing herd immunity will take time, and that the lifting of these measures in France will be long and complex.

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