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2.
J Virol Methods ; 302: 114475, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1652648

ABSTRACT

Accurate and sensitive detection of antibody to SARS-CoV-2 remains an essential component of the pandemic response. Measuring antibody that predicts neutralising activity and the vaccine response is an absolute requirement for laboratory-based confirmatory and reference activity. The viral receptor binding domain (RBD) constitutes the prime target antigen for neutralising antibody. A double antigen binding assay (DABA), providing the most sensitive format has been exploited in a novel hybrid manner employing a solid-phase S1 preferentially presenting RBD, coupled with a labelled RBD conjugate, used in a two-step sequential assay for detection and measurement of antibody to RBD (anti-RBD). This class and species neutral assay showed a specificity of 100 % on 825 pre COVID-19 samples and a potential sensitivity of 99.6 % on 276 recovery samples, predicting quantitatively the presence of neutralising antibody determined by pseudo-type neutralization and by plaque reduction. Anti-RBD is also measurable in ferrets immunised with ChadOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and in humans immunised with both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. This assay detects anti-RBD at presentation with illness, demonstrates its elevation with disease severity, its sequel to asymptomatic infection and its persistence after the loss of antibody to the nucleoprotein (anti-NP). It also provides serological confirmation of prior infection and offers a secure measure for seroprevalence and studies of vaccine immunisation in human and animal populations. The hybrid DABA also displays the attributes necessary for the detection and quantification of anti-RBD to be used in clinical practice. An absence of detectable anti-RBD by this assay predicates the need for passive immune prophylaxis in at-risk patients.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/isolation & purification , COVID-19/diagnosis , Ferrets , Humans , RNA, Viral , Seroepidemiologic Studies
3.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 1885, 2022 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671623

ABSTRACT

At-home sampling is key to large scale seroprevalence studies. Dried blood spot (DBS) self-sampling removes the need for medical personnel for specimen collection but facilitates specimen referral to an appropriately accredited laboratory for accurate sample analysis. To establish a highly sensitive and specific antibody assay that would facilitate self-sampling for prevalence and vaccine-response studies. Paired sera and DBS eluates collected from 439 sero-positive, 382 sero-negative individuals and DBS from 34 vaccine recipients were assayed by capture ELISAs for IgG and IgM antibody to SARS-CoV-2. IgG and IgM combined on DBS eluates achieved a diagnostic sensitivity of 97.9% (95%CI 96.6 to 99.3) and a specificity of 99.2% (95% CI 98.4 to 100) compared to serum, displaying limits of detection equivalent to 23 and 10 WHO IU/ml, respectively. A strong correlation (r = 0.81) was observed between serum and DBS reactivities. Reactivity remained stable with samples deliberately rendered inadequate, (p = 0.234) and when samples were accidentally damaged or 'invalid'. All vaccine recipients were sero-positive. This assay provides a secure method for self-sampling by DBS with a sensitivity comparable to serum. The feasibility of DBS testing in sero-prevalence studies and in monitoring post-vaccine responses was confirmed, offering a robust and reliable tool for serological monitoring at a population level.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Dried Blood Spot Testing/methods , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Specimen Handling/methods , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Feasibility Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies
6.
J Clin Virol ; 146: 105049, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540752

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The highly transmissible Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.617.2), first identified in India, is currently replacing pre-existing variants in many parts of the world. To help guide public health policies it is important to monitor efficiently its spread. Genome sequencing is the gold standard for identification of Delta, but is time-consuming, expensive, and unavailable in many regions. OBJECTIVE: To develop and evaluate a rapid, simple and inexpensive alternative to sequencing for Delta identification. METHODS: A double-mismatch allele-specific RT-PCR (DMAS-RT-PCR) was developed. The technique exploits allele-specific primers, targeting two spike gene mutations, L452R and T478K, within the same amplicon. The discriminatory power of each primer was enhanced by an additional mismatch located at the fourth nucleotide from the 3' end. Specificity was assessed by testing well characterised cell culture-derived viral isolates and clinical samples, most of which had previously been fully sequenced. RESULTS: In all cases the results of viral genotyping by DMAS-RT-PCR were entirely concordant with the results of sequencing, and the assay was shown to discriminate reliably between the Delta variant and other variants (Alpha and Beta), and 'wild-type' SARS-CoV-2. Influenza A and RSV were non-reactive in the assay. The sensitivity of DMAS-RT-PCR matched that of the diagnostic SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR screening assay. Several samples that could not be sequenced due to insufficient virus were successfully genotyped by DMAS-RT-PCR. CONCLUSION: The method we describe would be simple to establish in any laboratory that can conduct PCR assays and should greatly facilitate monitoring of the spread of the Delta variant globally.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Alleles , Humans , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcription , Sensitivity and Specificity
7.
Sci Adv ; 7(22)2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388434

ABSTRACT

The coronaviral spike is the dominant viral antigen and the target of neutralizing antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 spike binds biliverdin and bilirubin, the tetrapyrrole products of heme metabolism, with nanomolar affinity. Using cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography, we mapped the tetrapyrrole interaction pocket to a deep cleft on the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). At physiological concentrations, biliverdin significantly dampened the reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 spike with immune sera and inhibited a subset of neutralizing antibodies. Access to the tetrapyrrole-sensitive epitope is gated by a flexible loop on the distal face of the NTD. Accompanied by profound conformational changes in the NTD, antibody binding requires relocation of the gating loop, which folds into the cleft vacated by the metabolite. Our results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 spike NTD harbors a dominant epitope, access to which can be controlled by an allosteric mechanism that is regulated through recruitment of a metabolite.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Heme/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Bilirubin/metabolism , Biliverdine/metabolism , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes , Humans , Immune Sera , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
8.
BMJ Military Health ; 167(3):e1, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1238530

ABSTRACT

IntroductionSerological testing can augment delayed case identification programmes for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronoravirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Immunoassays employ anti-nucleocapsid (anti-NP;the majority) or potentially neutralising anti-spike (including anti-receptor binding domain;anti-RBD) antibody targets, yet correlation between assays and variability arising from disease symptomatology remains unclear. We explore these possibly differential immune responses across the disease spectrum.MethodsA multicentre prospective study was undertaken via a SARS-CoV-2 delayed case identification programme (08 May-11 July 2020). Matched samples were tested for anti-NP and anti-RBD (utilising an ‘inhouse’ double-antigen bridged assay), reactivity expressed as test/cut-off binding ratios (BR) and results compared. A multivariate linear regression model analysed age, sex, symptomatology, PCR positivity, anti-NP, and anti-RBD BRs. Participants were followed up for possible reinfection.Results902 individuals underwent matched testing;109 were SARS-CoV-2 PCR swab positive. Anti-NP, anti-RBD immunoassay agreement was 87.5% (95% CI 85.3–89.6), with BRs strongly correlated (R=0.75). PCR confirmed cases were more frequently identified by anti-RBD (sensitivity 108/109, 99.1%, 95% CI 95.0–100.0) than anti-NP (102/109, 93.6%, 95% CI 87.2–97.4). Anti-RBD identified an additional 83/325 (25.5%) cases in those seronegative for anti-NP. Presence of anti-NP (p<0.0001), fever (p=0.005), or anosmia (p=0.002) were all significantly associated with an increased anti-RBD BR. Age was associated with reduced anti-RBD BR (p=0.052). Three cases with evidence of seroconversion (anti-RBD seropositive) presented with subsequent reactive PCR results, two of which coincided with first time onset of Public Heath England SARS-CoV-2 symptoms.ConclusionsSARS-CoV-2 anti-RBD shows significant correlation with anti-NP for absolute seroconversion, and BRs. Higher BRs are seen in symptomatic individuals with significantly higher levels seen in those with fever and anosmia. The degree of discordant results (12.5%) limits the use of anti-NP as a stand-alone for delayed case finding programmes. Similarly, this discordance limits the utility of non-neutralising anti-NP assays in place of potentially neutralising anti-RBD to infer possible immunity.** this abstract presentation was awarded an Honourable Mention

10.
J Infect Dis ; 223(10): 1671-1676, 2021 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120054

ABSTRACT

It is currently unknown how post-COVID-19 syndrome (PCS) may affect those infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This longitudinal study includes healthcare staff who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 between March and April 2020, with follow-up of their antibody titers and symptoms. More than half (21 of 38) had PCS after 7-8 months. There was no statistically significant difference between initial reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction titers or serial antibody levels between those who did and those who did not develop PCS. This study highlights the relative commonality of PCS in healthcare workers and this should be considered in vaccination scheduling and workforce planning to allow adequate frontline staffing numbers.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , COVID-19/complications , Health Personnel , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Anosmia , COVID-19/immunology , Cohort Studies , Fatigue , Female , Headache , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Respiratory Tract Diseases , Surveys and Questionnaires , Syndrome , United Kingdom , Young Adult
11.
J Infect Dis ; 223(2): 192-196, 2021 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1060994

ABSTRACT

At the start of the UK coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic, this rare point prevalence study revealed that one-third of patients (15 of 45) in a London inpatient rehabilitation unit were found to be infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) but asymptomatic. We report on 8 patients in detail, including their clinical stability, the evolution of their nasopharyngeal viral reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) burden, and their antibody levels over time, revealing the infection dynamics by RT-PCR and serology during the acute phase. Notably, a novel serological test for antibodies against the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 showed that 100% of our asymptomatic cohort remained seropositive 3-6 weeks after diagnosis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , Nasopharynx/virology , Rehabilitation Centers/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibody Formation , Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , London/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Serologic Tests
12.
Crit Care Med ; 49(3): 428-436, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1057891

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Critical care workers were considered to be at high risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection from patients during the first wave of the pandemic. Staff symptoms, previous swab testing, and antibody prevalence were correlated with patient admissions to investigate this assumption. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: A large critical care department in a tertiary-care teaching hospital in London, United Kingdom. SUBJECTS: Staff working in critical care. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Participants completed a questionnaire and provided a serum sample for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 antibody testing over a 3-day period in April 2020. We compared the timing of symptoms in staff to the coronavirus disease 2019 patient admissions to critical care. We also identified factors associated with antibody detection. Of 625 staff 384 (61.4%) reported previous symptoms and 124 (19.8%) had sent a swab for testing. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection had been confirmed in 37 of those swabbed (29.8%). Overall, 21% (131/625) had detectable severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 antibody, of whom 9.9% (13/131) had been asymptomatic. The peak onset of symptoms among staff occurred 2 weeks before the peak in coronavirus disease 2019 patient admissions. Staff who worked in multiple departments across the hospital were more likely to be seropositive. Staff with a symptomatic household contact were also more likely to be seropositive at 31.3%, compared with 16.2% in those without (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Staff who developed coronavirus disease 2019 were less likely to have caught it from their patients in critical care. Other staff, other areas of the hospital, and the wider community are more likely sources of infection. These findings indicate that personal protective equipment was effective at preventing transmission from patients. However, staff also need to maintain protective measures away from the bedside.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Critical Care , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Personnel, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Adult , COVID-19/transmission , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , London/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Admission , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Tertiary Care Centers , United Kingdom/epidemiology
13.
J Infect ; 81(6): 931-936, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-866901

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding of the true asymptomatic rate of infection of SARS-CoV-2 is currently limited, as is understanding of the population-based seroprevalence after the first wave of COVID-19 within the UK. The majority of data thus far come from hospitalised patients, with little focus on general population cases, or their symptoms. METHODS: We undertook enzyme linked immunosorbent assay characterisation of IgM and IgG responses against SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and nucleocapsid protein of 431 unselected general-population participants of the TwinsUK cohort from South-East England, aged 19-86 (median age 48; 85% female). 382 participants completed prospective logging of 14 COVID-19 related symptoms via the COVID Symptom Study App, allowing consideration of serology alongside individual symptoms, and a predictive algorithm for estimated COVID-19 previously modelled on PCR positive individuals from a dataset of over 2 million. FINDINGS: We demonstrated a seroprevalence of 12% (51 participants of 431). Of 48 seropositive individuals with full symptom data, nine (19%) were fully asymptomatic, and 16 (27%) were asymptomatic for core COVID-19 symptoms: fever, cough or anosmia. Specificity of anosmia for seropositivity was 95%, compared to 88% for fever cough and anosmia combined. 34 individuals in the cohort were predicted to be Covid-19 positive using the App algorithm, and of those, 18 (52%) were seropositive. INTERPRETATION: Seroprevalence amongst adults from London and South-East England was 12%, and 19% of seropositive individuals with prospective symptom logging were fully asymptomatic throughout the study. Anosmia demonstrated the highest symptom specificity for SARS-CoV-2 antibody response. FUNDING: NIHR BRC, CDRF, ZOE global LTD, RST-UKRI/MRC.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anosmia/epidemiology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , England/epidemiology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Twins , Young Adult
15.
Thorax ; 75(12): 1082-1088, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717419

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Accurate antibody tests are essential to monitor the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) can deliver testing at scale. However, reported performance varies, and sensitivity analyses have generally been conducted on serum from hospitalised patients. For use in community testing, evaluation of finger-prick self-tests, in non-hospitalised individuals, is required. METHODS: Sensitivity analysis was conducted on 276 non-hospitalised participants. All had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription PCR and were ≥21 days from symptom onset. In phase I, we evaluated five LFIAs in clinic (with finger prick) and laboratory (with blood and sera) in comparison to (1) PCR-confirmed infection and (2) presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies on two 'in-house' ELISAs. Specificity analysis was performed on 500 prepandemic sera. In phase II, six additional LFIAs were assessed with serum. FINDINGS: 95% (95% CI 92.2% to 97.3%) of the infected cohort had detectable antibodies on at least one ELISA. LFIA sensitivity was variable, but significantly inferior to ELISA in 8 out of 11 assessed. Of LFIAs assessed in both clinic and laboratory, finger-prick self-test sensitivity varied from 21% to 92% versus PCR-confirmed cases and from 22% to 96% versus composite ELISA positives. Concordance between finger-prick and serum testing was at best moderate (kappa 0.56) and, at worst, slight (kappa 0.13). All LFIAs had high specificity (97.2%-99.8%). INTERPRETATION: LFIA sensitivity and sample concordance is variable, highlighting the importance of evaluations in setting of intended use. This rigorous approach to LFIA evaluation identified a test with high specificity (98.6% (95%CI 97.1% to 99.4%)), moderate sensitivity (84.4% with finger prick (95% CI 70.5% to 93.5%)) and moderate concordance, suitable for seroprevalence surveys.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoassay/methods , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , DNA, Viral/analysis , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Reproducibility of Results , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Seroepidemiologic Studies
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