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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22272766


BackgroundLittle is known about the population prevalence of antibodies against emerging immune escape variants of SARS-CoV-2. MethodsA population-based prevalence study was conducted in Yokohama City, the most populous municipality of Japan. Quantitative measurements of immunoglobulin G against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (SP-IgG) and qualitative measurements of neutralization antibodies against the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants were performed. ResultsOf 6,000 randomly selected residents aged 20-74, 1,277 participated in the study during a period from January 30 to February 28, 2022. Of them, 3% had prior diagnosis of COVID-19, 96% received at least two-doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and 94% were positive for SP-IgG. The positive rates of neutralizing antibodies were 28% to Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants in a random sample of 10% of participants (n=123) and 100% to BA.1 and BA.2 among participants who received the third vaccination at least 7 days before (n=66). ConclusionsIn this population-based prevalence study in Japan, most had SP-IgG antibodies but the overall neutralizing antibody positive rate was 28% against the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants. The population-level insufficient humoral immunity against the Omicron variants may explain the outbreak of COVID-19 during this period in Japan.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21265693


To evaluate vaccine-induced humoral and cell-mediated immunity at 6 months post BNT162b2 vaccination, immunoglobulin G against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (SP IgG), 50% neutralizing antibody (NT50), and spot-forming cell (SFC) counts were evaluated by interferon-{gamma} releasing ELISpot assay of 98 healthy subjects (median age, 43 years). The geometric mean titers of SP IgG and NT50 decreased from 95.2 (95% confidence interval (CI) 79.8-113.4) to 5.7 (95% CI 4.9-6.7) and from 680.4 (588.0-787.2) to 130.4 (95% CI 104.2-163.1), respectively, at 3 weeks and 6 months after the vaccination. SP IgG titer was negatively correlated with age and alcohol consumption. Spot-forming cell counts at 6 months did not correlate with age, gender, and other parameters of the patients. SP IgG, NT50, and SFC titers were elevated in the breakthrough infected subjects. Although the levels of vaccine-induced antibodies dramatically declined at 6 months after vaccination, a certain degree of cellular immunity was observed irrespective of the age.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21264013


SARS-CoV-2 infection elicits varying degrees of protective immunity conferred by neutralizing antibodies (nAbs). Here we report the persistence of nAb responses over 12 months after infection despite its decreasing trend noticed from 6 months. The study included sera from 358 individuals who had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 between January and May 2020. Samples were collected at 6 and 12 months after onset. The titers of IgG to the viral nucleocapsid protein (NP) and receptor-binding domain of the spike protein (RBD) were measured by CLEIA. The nAb titer was determined using lentivirus-based pseudovirus or authentic virus. Antibody titers of NP-IgG, RBD-IgG, and nAbs were higher in severe and moderate cases than in mild cases at 12 months after onset. While the nAb levels were likely to confer adequate protection against wild-type viral infection, the neutralization activity to recently circulating variants in some of the mild cases ([~]30%) was undermined, implying the susceptibility of reinfection to the variants of concerns (VOCs). COVID-19 convalescent individuals have robust humoral immunity even at 12 months after infection albeit that the medical history and background of patients could affect the function and dynamics of antibody response to the VOCs.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21263927


BackgroundLevels of 50% neutralizing titer (NT50) reflect a vaccine-induced humoral immunity after the vaccination against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Measurements of NT50 are difficult to implement in large quantities. A high-throughput laboratory test is expected for determining the level of herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2. MethodsWe analyzed samples from 168 Japanese healthcare workers who had completed two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine. We analyzed immunoglobulin G (IgG) index values against spike protein (SP) using automated chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay system AIA-CL and analyzed the background factors affecting antibody titer. SP IgG index was compared with 50% neutralization titers. ResultsThe median SP IgG index values of the subjects (mean age = 43 years; 75% female) were 0.1, 1.35, 60.80, and 97.35 before and at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after the first dose, respectively. At 4 and 6 weeks after the first dose, SP IgG titers were found to have positive correlation with NT50 titer (r=0.7535 in 4 weeks; r=0.4376 in 6 weeks). Proportions of the SP IgG index values against the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants compared with the original strain were 2.029, 0.544, 1.017, and 0.6096 respectively. Older age was associated with lower SP IgG titer index 6 weeks after the first dose. ConclusionsSP IgG index values were raised at 3 weeks after two doses of BNT162b2 vaccination and have positive correlation with NT50. SP IgG index values were lower in the older individuals and against Beta and Delta strain.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20225805


ObjectiveSerological tests for COVID-19 have been instrumental in studying the epidemiology of the disease. However, the performance of the currently available tests is plagued by the problem of variability. We have developed a high-throughput serological test capable of simultaneously detecting total immunoglobulins (Ig) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) against two of the most immunologically relevant SARS-CoV-2 antigens, nucleocapsid protein (NP) and spike protein (SP) and report its performance in detecting COVID-19 in clinical samples. MethodsWe designed and prepared reagents for measuring NP-IgG, NP-Total Ig, SP-IgG, and SP-Total Ig (using N-terminally truncated NP ({Delta}N-NP) or receptor-binding domain (RBD) antigen) on the advanced chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay system TOSOH AIA-CL. After determining the basal thresholds based on 17 sera obtained from confirmed COVID-19 patients and 600 negative sera. Subsequently, the clinical validity of the assay was evaluated using independent 202 positive samples and 1,000 negative samples from healthy donors. ResultsAll of the four test parameters showed 100% specificity individually (1,000/1,000; 95%CI, 99.63-100). The sensitivity of the assay increased proportionally to the elapsed time from symptoms onset, and all the tests achieved 100% sensitivity (153/153; 95%CI, 97.63-100) after 13 days from symptoms onset. NP-Total Ig was the earliest to attain maximal sensitivity among the other antibodies tested. ConclusionOur newly developed serological testing exhibited 100% sensitivity and specificity after 13 days from symptoms onset. Hence, it could be used as a reliable method for accurate detection of COVID-19 patients and to evaluate seroprevalence and possibly for surrogate assessment of herd immunity.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20158410


SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies confer protective immunity against reinfection. We have developed a rapid test for screening SARS-CoV-2 neutralization antibodies using genome-free virus-like particles incorporated with a small luciferase peptide, HiBiT. Their entry into LgBiT-expressing target cells reconstitutes NanoLuc luciferase readily detected by a luminometer. This newly developed HiBiT-tagged Virus-like particle-based Neutralization Test (hiVNT) can readily quantify SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies within three hours with a high-throughput in a low biosafety setting. Moreover, the neutralizing activity obtained from hiVNT was highly consistent with that measured by the conventional neutralization test using authentic SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, antibody responses to both viral spike and nucleocapsid proteins correlated with the neutralization activity assessed by hiVNT. Our newly-developed hiVNT could be instrumental to survey individuals for the presence of functional neutralizing antibody against SARS-CoV-2.