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EBioMedicine ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2045138

ABSTRACT

Background The majority of those infected by ancestral Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during the UK first wave (starting March 2020) did not require hospitalisation. Most had a short-lived mild or asymptomatic infection, while others had symptoms that persisted for weeks or months. We hypothesized that the plasma proteome at the time of first infection would reflect differences in the inflammatory response that linked to symptom severity and duration. Methods We performed a nested longitudinal case-control study and targeted analysis of the plasma proteome of 156 healthcare workers (HCW) with and without lab confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Targeted proteomic multiple-reaction monitoring analysis of 91 pre-selected proteins was undertaken in uninfected healthcare workers at baseline, and in infected healthcare workers serially, from 1 week prior to 6 weeks after their first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Symptom severity and antibody responses were also tracked. Questionnaires at 6 and 12 months collected data on persistent symptoms. Findings Within this cohort (median age 39 years, interquartile range 30–47 years), 54 healthcare workers (44% male) had PCR or antibody confirmed infection, with the remaining 102 (38% male) serving as uninfected controls. Following the first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, perturbation of the plasma proteome persisted for up to 6 weeks, tracking symptom severity and antibody responses. Differentially abundant proteins were mostly coordinated around lipid, atherosclerosis and cholesterol metabolism pathways, complement and coagulation cascades, autophagy, and lysosomal function. The proteomic profile at the time of seroconversion associated with persistent symptoms out to 12 months. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD036590. Interpretation Our findings show that non-severe SARS-CoV-2 infection perturbs the plasma proteome for at least 6 weeks. The plasma proteomic signature at the time of seroconversion has the potential to identify which individuals are more likely to suffer from persistent symptoms related to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Funding information The COVIDsortium is supported by funding donated by individuals, charitable Trusts, and corporations including Goldman Sachs, Citadel and Citadel Securities, The Guy Foundation, GW Pharmaceuticals, Kusuma Trust, and Jagclif Charitable Trust, and enabled by Barts Charity with support from University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Charity. This work was additionally supported by the Translational Mass Spectrometry Research Group and the Biomedical Research Center (BRC) at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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