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Pathog Immun ; 7(2): 143-170, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2261325


Introduction: Neutralizing antibodies have been shown to develop rapidly following SARS-CoV-2 infection, specifically against spike (S) protein, where cytokine release and production is understood to drive the humoral immune response during acute infection. Thus, we evaluated the quantity and function of antibodies across disease severities and analyzed the associated inflammatory and coagulation pathways to identify acute markers that correlate with antibody response following infection. Methods: Blood samples were collected from patients at time of diagnostic SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing between March 2020-November 2020. Plasma samples were analyzed using the MesoScale Discovery (MSD) Platform using the COVID-19 Serology Kit and U-Plex 8 analyte multiplex plate to measure anti-alpha and beta coronavirus antibody concentration and ACE2 blocking function, as well as plasma cytokines. Results: A total of 230 (181 unique patients) samples were analyzed across the 5 COVID-19 disease severities. We found that antibody quantity directly correlated with functional ability to block virus binding to membrane-bound ACE2, where a lower SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike/anti-RBD response corresponded with a lower antibody blocking potential compared to higher antibody response (anti-S1 r = 0.884, P < 0.001; anti-RBD r = 0.75, P < 0.001). Across all the soluble proinflammatory markers we examined, ICAM, IL-1ß, IL-4, IL-6, TNFα, and Syndecan showed a statistically significant positive correlation between cytokine or epithelial marker and antibody quantity regardless of COVID-19 disease severity. Analysis of autoantibodies against type 1 interferon was not shown to be statistically significant between disease severity groups. Conclusion: Previous studies have shown that proinflammatory markers, including IL-6, IL-8, IL-1ß, and TNFα, are significant predictors of COVID-19 disease severity, regardless of demographics or comorbidities. Our study demonstrated that not only are these proinflammatory markers, as well as IL-4, ICAM, and Syndecan, correlative of disease severity, they are also correlative of antibody quantity and quality following SARS-CoV-2 exposure.

mBio ; 14(1): e0339322, 2023 02 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2223575


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection alters the immunological profiles of natural killer (NK) cells. However, whether NK antiviral functions are impaired during severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and what host factors modulate these functions remain unclear. We found that NK cells from hospitalized COVID-19 patients degranulate less against SARS-CoV-2 antigen-expressing cells (in direct cytolytic and antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity [ADCC] assays) than NK cells from mild COVID-19 patients or negative controls. The lower NK degranulation was associated with higher plasma levels of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigen. Phenotypic and functional analyses showed that NK cells expressing the glyco-immune checkpoint Siglec-9 elicited higher ADCC than Siglec-9- NK cells. Consistently, Siglec-9+ NK cells exhibit an activated and mature phenotype with higher expression of CD16 (FcγRIII; mediator of ADCC), CD57 (maturation marker), and NKG2C (activating receptor), along with lower expression of the inhibitory receptor NKG2A, than Siglec-9- CD56dim NK cells. These data are consistent with the concept that the NK cell subpopulation expressing Siglec-9 is highly activated and cytotoxic. However, the Siglec-9 molecule itself is an inhibitory receptor that restrains NK cytotoxicity during cancer and other viral infections. Indeed, blocking Siglec-9 significantly enhanced the ADCC-mediated NK degranulation and lysis of SARS-CoV-2-antigen-positive target cells. These data support a model in which the Siglec-9+ CD56dim NK subpopulation is cytotoxic even while it is restrained by the inhibitory effects of Siglec-9. Alleviating the Siglec-9-mediated restriction on NK cytotoxicity may further improve NK immune surveillance and presents an opportunity to develop novel immunotherapeutic tools against SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. IMPORTANCE One mechanism that cancer cells use to evade natural killer cell immune surveillance is by expressing high levels of sialoglycans, which bind to Siglec-9, a glyco-immune checkpoint molecule on NK cells. This binding inhibits NK cell cytotoxicity. Several viruses, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV, also use a similar mechanism to evade NK surveillance. We found that NK cells from SARS-CoV-2-hospitalized patients are less able to function against cells expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein than NK cells from SARS-CoV-2 mild patients or uninfected controls. We also found that the cytotoxicity of the Siglec-9+ NK subpopulation is indeed restrained by the inhibitory nature of the Siglec-9 molecule and that blocking Siglec-9 can enhance the ability of NK cells to target cells expressing SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Our results suggest that a targetable glyco-immune checkpoint mechanism, Siglec-9/sialoglycan interaction, may contribute to the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to evade NK immune surveillance.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antibodies/metabolism , Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity , COVID-19/metabolism , Killer Cells, Natural , Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins/metabolism
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(7): 712-720, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337036


BACKGROUND: Whether young adults who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 are at risk of subsequent infection is uncertain. We investigated the risk of subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection among young adults seropositive for a previous infection. METHODS: This analysis was performed as part of the prospective COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines study (CHARM). CHARM included predominantly male US Marine recruits, aged 18-20 years, following a 2-week unsupervised quarantine at home. After the home quarantine period, upon arrival at a Marine-supervised 2-week quarantine facility (college campus or hotel), participants were enrolled and were assessed for baseline SARS-CoV-2 IgG seropositivity, defined as a dilution of 1:150 or more on receptor-binding domain and full-length spike protein ELISA. Participants also completed a questionnaire consisting of demographic information, risk factors, reporting of 14 specific COVID-19-related symptoms or any other unspecified symptom, and brief medical history. SARS-CoV-2 infection was assessed by PCR at weeks 0, 1, and 2 of quarantine and participants completed a follow-up questionnaire, which included questions about the same COVID-19-related symptoms since the last study visit. Participants were excluded at this stage if they had a positive PCR test during quarantine. Participants who had three negative swab PCR results during quarantine and a baseline serum serology test at the beginning of the supervised quarantine that identified them as seronegative or seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 then went on to basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot-Parris Island. Three PCR tests were done at weeks 2, 4, and 6 in both seropositive and seronegative groups, along with the follow-up symptom questionnaire and baseline neutralising antibody titres on all subsequently infected seropositive and selected seropositive uninfected participants (prospective study period). FINDINGS: Between May 11, 2020, and Nov 2, 2020, we enrolled 3249 participants, of whom 3168 (98%) continued into the 2-week quarantine period. 3076 (95%) participants, 2825 (92%) of whom were men, were then followed up during the prospective study period after quarantine for 6 weeks. Among 189 seropositive participants, 19 (10%) had at least one positive PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 during the 6-week follow-up (1·1 cases per person-year). In contrast, 1079 (48%) of 2247 seronegative participants tested positive (6·2 cases per person-year). The incidence rate ratio was 0·18 (95% CI 0·11-0·28; p<0·001). Among seropositive recruits, infection was more likely with lower baseline full-length spike protein IgG titres than in those with higher baseline full-length spike protein IgG titres (hazard ratio 0·45 [95% CI 0·32-0·65]; p<0·001). Infected seropositive participants had viral loads that were about 10-times lower than those of infected seronegative participants (ORF1ab gene cycle threshold difference 3·95 [95% CI 1·23-6·67]; p=0·004). Among seropositive participants, baseline neutralising titres were detected in 45 (83%) of 54 uninfected and in six (32%) of 19 infected participants during the 6 weeks of observation (ID50 difference p<0·0001). INTERPRETATION: Seropositive young adults had about one-fifth the risk of subsequent infection compared with seronegative individuals. Although antibodies induced by initial infection are largely protective, they do not guarantee effective SARS-CoV-2 neutralisation activity or immunity against subsequent infection. These findings might be relevant for optimisation of mass vaccination strategies. FUNDING: Defense Health Agency and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Prospective Studies , Quarantine , Risk Assessment , Young Adult