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1.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 13: 100294, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587066

ABSTRACT

In the summer of 2021, European governments removed most NPIs after experiencing prolonged second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries failed to achieve immunization rates high enough to avoid resurgence of the virus. Public health strategies for autumn and winter 2021 have ranged from countries aiming at low incidence by re-introducing NPIs to accepting high incidence levels. However, such high incidence strategies almost certainly lead to the very consequences that they seek to avoid: restrictions that harm people and economies. At high incidence, the important pandemic containment measure 'test-trace-isolate-support' becomes inefficient. At that point, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its numerous harmful consequences can likely only be controlled through restrictions. We argue that all European countries need to pursue a low incidence strategy in a coordinated manner. Such an endeavour can only be successful if it is built on open communication and trust.

2.
Front Immunol ; 12: 793953, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572289

ABSTRACT

Durability of SARS-CoV-2 Spike antibody responses after infection provides information relevant to understanding protection against COVID-19 in humans. We report the results of a sequential evaluation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in convalescent patients with a median follow-up of 14 months (range 12.4-15.4) post first symptom onset. We report persistence of antibodies for all four specificities tested [Spike, Spike Receptor Binding Domain (Spike-RBD), Nucleocapsid, Nucleocapsid RNA Binding Domain (N-RBD)]. Anti-Spike antibodies persist better than anti-Nucleocapsid antibodies. The durability analysis supports a bi-phasic antibody decay with longer half-lives of antibodies after 6 months and antibody persistence for up to 14 months. Patients infected with the Wuhan (WA1) strain maintained strong cross-reactive recognition of Alpha and Delta Spike-RBD but significantly reduced binding to Beta and Mu Spike-RBD. Sixty percent of convalescent patients with detectable WA1-specific NAb also showed strong neutralization of the Delta variant, the prevalent strain of the present pandemic. These data show that convalescent patients maintain functional antibody responses for more than one year after infection, suggesting a strong long-lasting response after symptomatic disease that may offer a prolonged protection against re-infection. One patient from this cohort showed strong increase of both Spike and Nucleocapsid antibodies at 14 months post-infection indicating SARS-CoV-2 re-exposure. These antibodies showed stronger cross-reactivity to a panel of Spike-RBD including Beta, Delta and Mu and neutralization of a panel of Spike variants including Beta and Gamma. This patient provides an example of strong anti-Spike recall immunity able to control infection at an asymptomatic level. Together, the antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 convalescent patients persist over 14 months and continue to maintain cross-reactivity to the current variants of concern and show strong functional properties.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Binding Sites, Antibody/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Cross Reactions/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests/methods , Nucleocapsid/immunology , Nucleocapsid/metabolism , Protein Binding/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Time Factors
3.
Cell Rep ; 36(6): 109504, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1491797

ABSTRACT

Early responses to vaccination are important for shaping both humoral and cellular protective immunity. Dissecting innate vaccine signatures may predict immunogenicity to help optimize the efficacy of mRNA and other vaccine strategies. Here, we characterize the cytokine and chemokine responses to the 1st and 2nd dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA (Pfizer/BioNtech) vaccine in antigen-naive and in previously coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-infected individuals (NCT04743388). Transient increases in interleukin-15 (IL-15) and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) levels early after boost correlate with Spike antibody levels, supporting their use as biomarkers of effective humoral immunity development in response to vaccination. We identify a systemic signature including increases in IL-15, IFN-γ, and IP-10/CXCL10 after the 1st vaccination, which were enriched by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and IL-6 after the 2nd vaccination. In previously COVID-19-infected individuals, a single vaccination results in both strong cytokine induction and antibody titers similar to the ones observed upon booster vaccination in antigen-naive individuals, a result with potential implication for future public health recommendations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Chemokine CXCL10/immunology , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Interleukin-15/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Female , Humans , Immunity/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Messenger/immunology
6.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(9): e1009701, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435628

ABSTRACT

The speed of development, versatility and efficacy of mRNA-based vaccines have been amply demonstrated in the case of SARS-CoV-2. DNA vaccines represent an important alternative since they induce both humoral and cellular immune responses in animal models and in human trials. We tested the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of DNA-based vaccine regimens expressing different prefusion-stabilized Wuhan-Hu-1 SARS-CoV-2 Spike antigens upon intramuscular injection followed by electroporation in rhesus macaques. Different Spike DNA vaccine regimens induced antibodies that potently neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and elicited robust T cell responses. The antibodies recognized and potently neutralized a panel of different Spike variants including Alpha, Delta, Epsilon, Eta and A.23.1, but to a lesser extent Beta and Gamma. The DNA-only vaccine regimens were compared to a regimen that included co-immunization of Spike DNA and protein in the same anatomical site, the latter of which showed significant higher antibody responses. All vaccine regimens led to control of SARS-CoV-2 intranasal/intratracheal challenge and absence of virus dissemination to the lower respiratory tract. Vaccine-induced binding and neutralizing antibody titers and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis inversely correlated with transient virus levels in the nasal mucosa. Importantly, the Spike DNA+Protein co-immunization regimen induced the highest binding and neutralizing antibodies and showed the strongest control against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques.


Subject(s)
Macaca mulatta , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , DNA, Viral/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Immunization, Passive , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Mice , RNA, Messenger/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/administration & dosage , Vaccines, DNA/immunology
7.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411088

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is an ongoing pandemic with high morbidity and mortality. Despite meticulous research, only dexamethasone has shown consistent mortality reduction. Convalescent plasma (CP) infusion might also develop into a safe and effective treatment modality on the basis of recent studies and meta-analyses; however, little is known regarding the kinetics of antibodies in CP recipients. To evaluate the kinetics, we followed 31 CP recipients longitudinally enrolled at a median of 3 days post symptom onset for changes in binding and neutralizing antibody titers and viral loads. Antibodies against the complete trimeric Spike protein and the receptor-binding domain (Spike-RBD), as well as against the complete Nucleocapsid protein and the RNA binding domain (N-RBD) were determined at baseline and weekly following CP infusion. Neutralizing antibody (pseudotype NAb) titers were determined at the same time points. Viral loads were determined semi-quantitatively by SARS-CoV-2 PCR. Patients with low humoral responses at entry showed a robust increase of antibodies to all SARS-CoV-2 proteins and Nab, reaching peak levels within 2 weeks. The rapid increase in binding and neutralizing antibodies was paralleled by a concomitant clearance of the virus within the same timeframe. Patients with high humoral responses at entry demonstrated low or no further increases; however, virus clearance followed the same trajectory as in patients with low antibody response at baseline. Together, the sequential immunological and virological analysis of this well-defined cohort of patients early in infection shows the presence of high levels of binding and neutralizing antibodies and potent clearance of the virus.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Nucleocapsid/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Load , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Kinetics , Male , Middle Aged
9.
Eur J Intern Med ; 89: 87-96, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313078

ABSTRACT

Elucidating the characteristics of human immune response against SARS-CoV-2 is of high priority and relevant for determining vaccine strategies. We report the results of a follow-up evaluation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in 148 convalescent plasma donors who participated in a phase 2 study at a median of 8.3 months (range 6.8-10.5 months) post first symptom onset. Monitoring responses over time, we found contraction of antibody responses for all four antigens tested, with Spike antibodies showing higher persistence than Nucleocapsid antibodies. A piecewise linear random-effects multivariate regression analysis showed a bi-phasic antibody decay with a more pronounced decrease during the first 6 months post symptoms onset by analysis of two intervals. Interestingly, antibodies to Spike showed better longevity whereas their neutralization ability contracted faster. As a result, neutralizing antibodies were detected in only 76% of patients at the last time point. In a multivariate analysis, older age and hospitalization were independently associated with higher Spike, Spike-RBD, Nucleocapsid, N-RBD antibodies and neutralizing antibody levels. Results on persistence and neutralizing ability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, especially against Spike and Spike-RBD, should be considered in the design of future vaccination strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Kinetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
10.
Life (Basel) ; 11(5)2021 Apr 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202314

ABSTRACT

Some emergent SARS-CoV-2 variants raise concerns due to their altered biological properties. For both B.1.1.7 and B.1351 variants, named as variants of concern (VOC), increased transmissibility was reported, whereas B.1.351 was more resistant to multiple monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), as well as convalescent and vaccination sera. To test this hypothesis, we examined the proportion of VOC over time across different geographic areas where the two VOC, B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, co-circulate. Our comparative analysis was based on the number of SARS-CoV-2 sequences on GISAID database. We report that B.1.1.7 dominates over B.1.351 in geographic areas where both variants co-circulate and the B.1.1.7 was the first variant introduced in the population. The only areas where B.1.351 was detected at higher proportion were South Africa and Mayotte in Africa, where this strain was associated with increased community transmission before the detection of B.1.1.7. The dominance of B.1.1.7 over B.1.351 could be important since B.1.351 was more resistant to certain mAbs, as well as heterologous convalescent and vaccination sera, thus suggesting that it may be transmitted more effectively in people with pre-existing immunity to other VOC. This scenario would lessen the effectiveness of vaccine and urge the need to update them with new strains.

11.
Microorganisms ; 9(4)2021 Apr 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178363

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a global pandemic associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Convalescent plasma (CP) infusion is a strategy of potential therapeutic benefit. We conducted a multicenter phase II study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of CP in patients with COVID-19, grade 4 or higher. To evaluate the efficacy of CP, a matched propensity score analysis was used comparing the intervention (n = 59) to a control group (n = 59). Sixty patients received CP within a median time of 7 days from symptom onset. During a median follow-up of 28.5 days, 56/60 patients fully recovered and 1 patient remained in the ICU. The death rate in the CP group was 3.4% vs. 13.6% in the control group. By multivariate analysis, CP recipients demonstrated a significantly reduced risk of death [HR: 0.04 (95% CI: 0.004-0.36), p: 0.005], significantly better overall survival by Kaplan-Meir analysis (p < 0.001), and increased probability of extubation [OR: 30.3 (95% CI: 2.64-348.9), p: 0.006]. Higher levels of antibodies in the CP were independently associated with significantly reduced risk of death. CP infusion was safe with only one grade 3 adverse event (AE), which easily resolved. CP used early may be a safe and effective treatment for patients with severe COVID-19 (trial number NCT04408209).

12.
J Biomed Sci ; 28(1): 9, 2021 Jan 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024367

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Gaining further insights into SARS-CoV-2 routes of infection and the underlying pathobiology of COVID-19 will support the design of rational treatments targeting the life cycle of the virus and/or the adverse effects (e.g., multi-organ collapse) that are triggered by COVID-19-mediated adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and/or other pathologies. MAIN BODY: COVID-19 is a two-phase disease being marked by (phase 1) increased virus transmission and infection rates due to the wide expression of the main infection-related ACE2, TMPRSS2 and CTSB/L human genes in tissues of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, as well as by (phase 2) host- and probably sex- and/or age-specific uncontrolled inflammatory immune responses which drive hyper-cytokinemia, aggressive inflammation and (due to broad organotropism of SARS-CoV-2) collateral tissue damage and systemic failure likely because of imbalanced ACE/ANGII/AT1R and ACE2/ANG(1-7)/MASR axes signaling. CONCLUSION: Here we discuss SARS-CoV-2 life cycle and a number of approaches aiming to suppress viral infection rates or propagation; increase virus antigen presentation in order to activate a robust and durable adaptive immune response from the host, and/or mitigate the ARDS-related "cytokine storm" and collateral tissue damage that triggers the severe life-threatening complications of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Life Cycle Stages , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
13.
Microorganisms ; 8(12)2020 Nov 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-948911

ABSTRACT

We evaluated the antibody responses in 259 potential convalescent plasma donors for Covid-19 patients. Different assays were used: a commercial ELISA detecting antibodies against the recombinant spike protein (S1); a multiplex assay detecting total and specific antibody isotypes against three SARS-CoV-2 antigens (S1, basic nucleocapsid (N) protein and receptor-binding domain (RBD)); and an in-house ELISA detecting antibodies to complete spike, RBD and N in 60 of these donors. Neutralizing antibodies (NAb) were also evaluated in these 60 donors. Analyzed samples were collected at a median time of 62 (14-104) days from the day of first symptoms or positive PCR (for asymptomatic patients). Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were detected in 88% and 87.8% of donors using the ELISA and the multiplex assay, respectively. The multivariate analysis showed that age ≥50 years (p < 0.001) and need for hospitalization (p < 0.001) correlated with higher antibody titers, while asymptomatic status (p < 0.001) and testing >60 days after symptom onset (p = 0.001) correlated with lower titers. Interestingly, pseudotype virus-neutralizing antibodies (PsNAbs) significantly correlated with spike and with RBD antibodies by ELISA. Sera with high PsNAb also showed a strong ability to neutralize active SARS-CoV-2 virus, with hospitalized patients showing higher titers. Therefore, convalescent plasma donors can be selected based on the presence of high RBD antibody titers.

14.
Hemasphere ; 4(3): e409, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894676

ABSTRACT

Various agents are currently under evaluation as potential treatments in the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Plasma from patients that have overcome COVID-19 infection, referred to as convalescent plasma, is a treatment option with considerable background in viral diseases such as Spanish influenza, H1N1, Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Although convalescent plasma has historically proven beneficial in the treatment of some viral diseases, its use is still explorative in the context of COVID-19. To date, preliminary evidence from case series is favorable as significant clinical, biochemical improvement and hospital discharge have been reported. A detailed overview of randomized as well non-randomized trials of treatment with convalescent plasma, which have been registered worldwide, is provided in this review. Based on these studies, data from thousands of patients is anticipated in the near future. Convalescent plasma seems to be a safe option, but potential risks such as transfusion-related acute lung injury and antibody-dependent enhancement are discussed. Authorities including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and scientific associations such as the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) and the European Blood Alliance (EBA), have provided guidance into the selection criteria for donors and recipients. A debatable, pivotal issue pertains to the optimal timing of convalescent plasma transfusion. This treatment should be administered as early as possible to maximize efficacy, but at the same time be reserved for severe cases. Emerging risk stratification algorithms integrating clinical and biochemical markers to trace the cases at risk of significant deterioration can prove valuable in this direction.

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