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1.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305590

ABSTRACT

Background: Laboratory diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection (the cause of COVID-19) uses PCR to detect viral RNA (vRNA) in respiratory samples. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has also been detected in other sample types, but there is limited understanding of the clinical or laboratory significance of its detection in blood. Methods: We undertook a systematic literature review to assimilate the evidence for the frequency of vRNA in blood, and to identify associated clinical characteristics. We performed RT-PCR in serum samples from a UK clinical cohort of acute and convalescent COVID-19 cases (n=212), together with convalescent plasma samples collected by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) (n=462 additional samples). To determine whether PCR-positive blood samples could pose an infection risk, we attempted virus isolation from a subset of RNA-positive samples. Results: We identified 28 relevant studies, reporting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 0-76% of blood samples;pooled estimate 10% (95%CI 5-18%). Among serum samples from our clinical cohort, 27/212 (12.7%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected by RT-PCR. RNA detection occurred in samples up to day 20 post symptom onset, and was associated with more severe disease (multivariable odds ratio 7.5). Across all samples collected ≥28 days post symptom onset, 0/494 (0%, 95%CI 0-0.7%) had vRNA detected. Among our PCR-positive samples, cycle threshold (ct) values were high (range 33.5-44.8), suggesting low vRNA copy numbers. PCR-positive sera inoculated into cell culture did not produce any cytopathic effect or yield an increase in detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA. There was a relationship between RT-PCR negativity and the presence of total SARS-CoV-2 antibody (p=0.02). Conclusions: vRNA was detectable at low viral loads in a minority of serum samples collected in acute infection, but was not associated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 (within the limitations of the assays used). This work helps to inform biosafety precautions for handling blood products from patients with current or previous COVID-19.

2.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295804

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT Background Treatment of COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma containing neutralising antibody to SARS-CoV-2 is under investigation as a means of reducing viral loads, ameliorating disease outcomes, and reducing mortality. However, its efficacy might be reduced in those infected with the emerging B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant. Here, we report the diverse virological characteristics of UK patients enrolled in the Immunoglobulin Domain of the REMAP-CAP randomised controlled trial. Methods SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was detected and quantified by real-time PCR in nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from study subjects within 48 hours of admission to intensive care unit. Antibody status was determined by spike-protein ELISA. B.1.1.7 strain was differentiated from other SARS-CoV-2 strains by two novel typing methods detecting the B.1.1.7-associated D1118H mutation with allele-specific probes and by restriction site polymorphism (SfcI). Findings Of 1260 subjects, 90% were PCR-positive with viral loads in nasopharyngeal swabs ranging from 72 international units [IUs]/ml to 1.7×10 11 IU/ml. Median viral loads were 45-fold higher in those who were seronegative for IgG antibodies (n=314;28%) compared to seropositives (n=804;72%), reflecting in part the latter group’s possible later disease stage on enrolment. Frequencies of B.1.1.7 infection increased from early November (<1%) to December 2020 (>60%). Anti-SARS-CoV-2 seronegative individuals infected with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 had significantly higher viral loads than seropositives (medians of 1.2×10 6 and 3.4 ×10 4 IU/ml respectively;p=2×10 −9 ). However, viral load distributions were elevated in both seropositive and seronegative subjects infected with B.1.1.7 (13.4×10 6 and 7.6×10 6 IU/ml;p=0.18). Interpretation High viral loads in seropositive B.1.1.7-infected subjects are consistent with increased replication capacity and/or less effective clearance by innate or adaptive immune response of B.1.1.7 strain than wild-type. As viral genotype was associated with diverse virological and immunological phenotypes, metrics of viral load, antibody status and infecting strain should be used to define subgroups for analysis of treatment efficacy.

4.
J Infect Dis ; 224(4): 595-605, 2021 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367024

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma containing neutralizing antibody to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is under investigation for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment. We report diverse virological characteristics of UK intensive care patients enrolled in the Immunoglobulin Domain of the REMAP-CAP randomized controlled trial that potentially influence treatment outcomes. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs collected pretreatment was quantified by PCR. Antibody status was determined by spike-protein ELISA. B.1.1.7 was differentiated from other SARS-CoV-2 strains using allele-specific probes or restriction site polymorphism (SfcI) targeting D1118H. RESULTS: Of 1274 subjects, 90% were PCR positive with viral loads 118-1.7 × 1011IU/mL. Median viral loads were 40-fold higher in those IgG seronegative (n = 354; 28%) compared to seropositives (n = 939; 72%). Frequencies of B.1.1.7 increased from <1% in November 2020 to 82% of subjects in January 2021. Seronegative individuals with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 had significantly higher viral loads than seropositives (medians 5.8 × 106 and 2.0 × 105 IU/mL, respectively; P = 2 × 10-15). CONCLUSIONS: High viral loads in seropositive B.1.1.7-infected subjects and resistance to seroconversion indicate less effective clearance by innate and adaptive immune responses. SARS-CoV-2 strain, viral loads, and antibody status define subgroups for analysis of treatment efficacy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Load/immunology , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/immunology , Serologic Tests/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , United Kingdom
5.
Transfusion ; 61(10): 2837-2843, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360538

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma (CP) therapy for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) provides virus-neutralizing antibodies that may ameliorate the outcome of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. The effectiveness of CP likely depends on its antiviral neutralizing potency and is determined using in vitro neutralizing antibody assays. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We evaluated abilities of three immunoassays for anti-spike antibodies (EUROimmun, Ortho, Roche), a pseudotype-based neutralization assay, and two assays that quantify ACE2 binding of spike protein (GenScript and hemagglutination test [HAT]-based assay) to predict neutralizing antibody titers in 113 CP donations. Assay outputs were analyzed through linear regression and calculation of sensitivities and specificities by receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis. RESULTS: Median values of plasma samples containing neutralizing antibodies produced conversion factors for assay unitage of ×6.5 (pseudotype), ×19 (GenScript), ×3.4 (HAT assay), ×0.08 (EUROimmun), ×1.64 (Roche), and ×0.10 (Ortho). All selected assays were sufficient in identifying the high titer donations based on ROC analysis; area over curve ranged from 91.7% for HAT and GenScript assay to 95.6% for pseudotype assay. However, their ability to predict the actual neutralizing antibody levels varied substantially as shown by linear regression correlation values (from 0.27 for Ortho to 0.61 for pseudotype assay). DISCUSSION: Overall, the study data demonstrate that all selected assays were effective in identifying donations with high neutralizing antibody levels and are potentially suitable as surrogate assays for donation selection for CP therapy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Immunoassay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Neutralization Tests
6.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1951, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157905

ABSTRACT

Serological detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 is essential for establishing rates of seroconversion in populations, and for seeking evidence for a level of antibody that may be protective against COVID-19 disease. Several high-performance commercial tests have been described, but these require centralised laboratory facilities that are comparatively expensive, and therefore not available universally. Red cell agglutination tests do not require special equipment, are read by eye, have short development times, low cost and can be applied at the Point of Care. Here we describe a quantitative Haemagglutination test (HAT) for the detection of antibodies to the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The HAT has a sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 99% for detection of antibodies after a PCR diagnosed infection. We will supply aliquots of the test reagent sufficient for ten thousand test wells free of charge to qualified research groups anywhere in the world.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Hemagglutination Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Agglutination Tests/methods , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Humans , Point-of-Care Systems , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroconversion
7.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 139, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1140800

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic caused >1 million infections during January-March 2020. There is an urgent need for reliable antibody detection approaches to support diagnosis, vaccine development, safe release of individuals from quarantine, and population lock-down exit strategies. We set out to evaluate the performance of ELISA and lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) devices. Methods: We tested plasma for COVID (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; SARS-CoV-2) IgM and IgG antibodies by ELISA and using nine different LFIA devices. We used a panel of plasma samples from individuals who have had confirmed COVID infection based on a PCR result (n=40), and pre-pandemic negative control samples banked in the UK prior to December-2019 (n=142). Results: ELISA detected IgM or IgG in 34/40 individuals with a confirmed history of COVID infection (sensitivity 85%, 95%CI 70-94%), vs. 0/50 pre-pandemic controls (specificity 100% [95%CI 93-100%]). IgG levels were detected in 31/31 COVID-positive individuals tested ≥10 days after symptom onset (sensitivity 100%, 95%CI 89-100%). IgG titres rose during the 3 weeks post symptom onset and began to fall by 8 weeks, but remained above the detection threshold. Point estimates for the sensitivity of LFIA devices ranged from 55-70% versus RT-PCR and 65-85% versus ELISA, with specificity 95-100% and 93-100% respectively. Within the limits of the study size, the performance of most LFIA devices was similar. Conclusions: Currently available commercial LFIA devices do not perform sufficiently well for individual patient applications. However, ELISA can be calibrated to be specific for detecting and quantifying SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG and is highly sensitive for IgG from 10 days following first symptoms.

8.
Wellcome Open Research ; 2020.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1024793

ABSTRACT

Background: Laboratory diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection (the cause of COVID-19) uses PCR to detect viral RNA (vRNA) in respiratory samples. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has also been detected in other sample types, but there is limited understanding of the clinical or laboratory significance of its detection in blood. Methods: We undertook a systematic literature review to assimilate the evidence for the frequency of vRNA in blood, and to identify associated clinical characteristics. We performed RT-PCR in serum samples from a UK clinical cohort of acute and convalescent COVID-19 cases (n=212), together with convalescent plasma samples collected by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) (n=462 additional samples). To determine whether PCR-positive blood samples could pose an infection risk, we attempted virus isolation from a subset of RNA-positive samples. Results: We identified 28 relevant studies, reporting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 0-76% of blood samples;pooled estimate 10% (95%CI 5-18%). Among serum samples from our clinical cohort, 27/212 (12.7%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected by RT-PCR. RNA detection occurred in samples up to day 20 post symptom onset, and was associated with more severe disease (multivariable odds ratio 7.5). Across all samples collected ≥28 days post symptom onset, 0/494 (0%, 95%CI 0-0.7%) had vRNA detected. Among our PCR-positive samples, cycle threshold (ct) values were high (range 33.5-44.8), suggesting low vRNA copy numbers. PCR-positive sera inoculated into cell culture did not produce any cytopathic effect or yield an increase in detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA. There was a relationship between RT-PCR negativity and the presence of total SARS-CoV-2 antibody (p=0.02). Conclusions: vRNA was detectable at low viral loads in a minority of serum samples collected in acute infection, but was not associated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 (within the limitations of the assays used). This work helps to inform biosafety precautions for handling blood products from patients with current or previous COVID-19.

9.
Transfus Med ; 31(3): 167-175, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979626

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The lack of approved specific therapeutic agents to treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has led to the rapid implementation of convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) trials in many countries, including the United Kingdom. Effective CPT is likely to require high titres of neutralising antibody (nAb) in convalescent donations. Understanding the relationship between functional neutralising antibodies and antibody levels to specific SARS-CoV-2 proteins in scalable assays will be crucial for the success of a large-scale collection. We assessed whether neutralising antibody titres correlated with reactivity in a range of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) targeting the spike (S) protein, the main target for human immune response. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from 52 individuals with a previous laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. These were assayed for SARS-CoV-2 nAbs by microneutralisation and pseudo-type assays and for antibodies by four different ELISAs. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to further identify sensitivity and specificity of selected assays to identify samples containing high nAb levels. RESULTS: All samples contained SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, whereas neutralising antibody titres of greater than 1:20 were detected in 43 samples (83% of those tested) and >1:100 in 22 samples (42%). The best correlations were observed with EUROimmun immunoglobulin G (IgG) reactivity (Spearman Rho correlation coefficient 0.88; p < 0.001). Based on ROC analysis, EUROimmun would detect 60% of samples with titres of >1:100 with 100% specificity using a reactivity index of 9.1 (13/22). DISCUSSION: Robust associations between nAb titres and reactivity in several ELISA-based antibody tests demonstrate their possible utility for scaled-up production of convalescent plasma containing potentially therapeutic levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 nAbs.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Blood Donors , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Male , ROC Curve , Sensitivity and Specificity
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