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1.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.10.13.22281024

ABSTRACT

Age is a major risk factor for hospitalization and death after SARS-CoV-2 infection, even in vaccinees. Suboptimal responses to a primary vaccination course have been reported in the elderly, but there is little information regarding the impact of age on responses to booster third doses. Here we show that individuals 70 or older who received a primary two dose schedule with AZD1222 and booster third dose with mRNA vaccine achieved significantly lower neutralizing antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped virus compared to those younger than 70. One month after the booster neither the concentration of serum binding anti spike IgG antibody, nor the frequency of spike-specific B cells showed differences by age grouping. However, the impaired neutralization potency and breadth post-third dose in the elderly was associated with enrichment of circulating atypical spike-specific B cells expressing CD11c and FCRL5. Single cell RNA sequencing confirmed an expansion of TBX21-, ITGAX-expressing B cells in the elderly that enriched for B cell activation/receptor signalling pathway genes. Importantly we also observed impaired T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike peptides in the elderly post-booster, both in terms of IFNgamma and IL2 secretion, as well as a decrease in T cell receptor signalling pathway genes. This expansion of atypical B cells and impaired T cell responses may contribute to the generation of less affinity-matured antibodies, with lower neutralizing capacity post-third dose in the elderly. Altogether, our data reveal the extent and potential mechanistic underpinning of the impaired vaccine responses present in the elderly after a booster dose, contributing to their increased susceptibility to COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Death
2.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.09.17.22280033

ABSTRACT

The effect of immune checkpoint blockade on COVID-19 immunity is unclear. In this study, we determine whether immune checkpoint blockade expanded age-associated B cells (ABCs) are similar to those present in other conditions, and whether they enhance or detract from the COVID-19 vaccine responses. First, we use single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) to show that ABCs arising from distinct aetiologies have common transcriptional profiles and may be further subdivided according to expression of genes associated with different immune functions, including the autoimmune regulator (AIRE). Next, we perform detailed longitudinal profiling of the COVID-19 vaccination response in patients. Finally, we show that high pre-vaccination ABC frequency correlates with decreased levels of antigen-specific memory B cells, and reduced magnitude and longevity of neutralising capacity against authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus. Expansion of ABCs is a biomarker for individuals with cancer requiring additional or more frequent booster immunisation against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms
3.
researchsquare; 2022.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-2034285.v2

ABSTRACT

After acute infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a significant proportion (0.2 – 30%) of patients experience persistent symptoms beyond 12 weeks, termed Long COVID. Understanding the mechanisms which cause this debilitating disease and identifying biomarkers for diagnostic, therapeutic and monitoring purposes is urgently required. Persistently high levels of IFN-γ were detected from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of Long COVID patients using highly sensitive FluoroSpot assays. This IFN-γ release was seen in the absence of ex vivo peptide stimulation and remains persistently elevated in Long Covid patients, unlike the resolution seen in patients recovering from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. IFN-γ release was CD8+ T cell mediated and dependent on MHC-I antigen presentation by CD14+ cells. After vaccination, a significant decrease in IFN-γ correlated with resolution of some Long COVID symptoms. Our study highlights a key mechanism underlying Long COVID, enabling the search for biomarkers and therapeutics in patients with Long COVID.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Acute Disease , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
4.
researchsquare; 2022.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-1834968.v1

ABSTRACT

There is a paucity of real-world data on vaccine elicited neutralising antibody responses for AZD1222, in African populations following vaccination scale up. Here, we first measured baseline SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and levels of protective neutralizing antibodies prior to vaccination rollout using both flow cytometric based analysis of binding antibodies coupled with pseudotyped virus neutralisation assays in two study cohorts from West Africa: Nigerian healthcare workers; (n = 140) and a Ghanaian general community cohort (n = 527). We found that 44% and 28% of pre-vaccination participants showed IgG anti-N positivity, increasing to 59% and 42% respectively with anti-receptor binding dominan (RBD) IgG specific antibodies. The increased prevalence of prior exposure using anti RBD antibodies was corroborated by Pseudotyped virus (PV) neutralizing antibody assays, indicating that overall, 50% of prior infections were missed by N antibody testing. PV titres (serum dilution required to inhibit 50% of infection, ID50) against wild type following 2-dose vaccination regimen were [145 (4.5) to 2579 (4.2) vs 57 (3.0) to 1049 (6.7)] (GMT ± s.d), delta [75 (3.0) to 549 (3.7) vs 37 (2.4) to 453 (7.4)] (GMT ± s.d) and omicron variants [37 (2.4) to 453 (7.4) vs 29 (1.8) to 95 (5.3)] (GMT ± s.d) in the Nigerian (1 month) vs Ghanaian participants (2 months) post vaccination (total n = 94). Previous IgG anti-N was associated with significantly higher neutralizing antibody levels with an observed 3.5-fold [1423 (3.9) vs 4674 (3.4)] (GMT ± s.d) and 2.7-fold [779 (7.1) vs 2128 (4.8) (GMT ± s.d) difference between N positive and negative participants in the Nigerian and Ghanaian cohorts respectively. We also observed serological evidence from N, S and RBD antibodies of breakthrough infection in 8/49 (16%) of Nigerian vaccinees over only 2 months, with neutralisation profiles suggesting delta variant infection consistent with the sampling period when this variant was known to dominate. Importantly, neutralising antibodies waned at 3 months after second dose vs 1 month post second-dose 1695 (4.3)] vs 2579 (4.2) in the Nigerian population who were N negative throughout. IgG anti-N was also observed to wane below cut-off in a total 19/94 (20%) of subjects highlighting the need for a combination of additional markers to characterise previous infection. We conclude that AZD1222 is immunogenic in two independent real world West African cohorts with high background seroprevalence and incidence of breakthrough infection in 2021. Waning titres at 6 months post second dose indicates the need for booster dosing after AZD1222 in the African setting despite hybrid immunity from previous infection.

5.
researchsquare; 2022.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-1834755.v1

ABSTRACT

Background: Divergence between deterioration to life–threatening COVID–19 or clinical improvement occurs for most within the first 14 days of symptoms. Life–threatening COVID–19 shares clinical similarities with Macrophage Activation Syndrome, which can be driven by elevated Free Interleukin–18 (IL–18) due to failure of negative-feedback release of IL–18 binding protein (IL–18bp). We therefore designed a prospective, longitudinal cohort study to examine IL–18 negative–feedback control in relation to COVID–19 severity and mortality from symptom day 15 onwards. Methods: 662 blood samples, matched to time from symptom onset, from 206 COVID–19 patients were analysed by enzyme–linked immunosorbent assay for IL–18 and IL–18bp, enabling calculation of free IL–18 (fIL–18) using the updated dissociation constant (Kd) of 0.05 nanomoles. Adjusted multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between highest fIL–18 and outcome measures of COVID-19 severity and mortality. Results: Up to symptom day 14, mean fIL–18 levels increase in all patients. Levels in survivors declined thereafter, but remained elevated in non–survivors, due to IL–18 production without commensurate IL–18bp release. Adjusted regression analysis from symptom day 15 onwards showed a 100 mmHg decrease in Pa02/Fi02 (primary outcome) for each 37.7 pg/ml increase in highest fIL–18 (p < 0.03). Per 50 pg/ml increase in highest fIL–18, adjusted logistic regression gave an odds–ratio (OR) for crude 60–day mortality of 1.41 (1.1 – 2.0) (p < 0.03), and an OR for death with hypoxaemic respiratory failure of 1.90 [1.3 – 3.1] (p < 0.01). Highest fIL–18 was associated also with organ failure, with an increase of 63.67 pg/ml for every additional organ supported (p < 0.01) in patients with hypoxaemic respiratory failure. In this same sub-group, highest fIL–18 showed a direct correlation with Neutrophil/Lymphocyte ratio, with an increase in fIL–18 by 3.54 pg/ml (p < 0.03) for each unit increase. Conclusions: Loss of IL–18 negative–feedback control, from symptom day 15 onwards is associated with COVID–19 severity and mortality. ISRCTN: #13450549; registration date: 30/12/2020. 


Subject(s)
COVID-19
6.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.06.09.22276196

ABSTRACT

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of severe Covid-19. However, the effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in people with obesity is unknown. Here we studied the relationship between body mass index (BMI), hospitalization and mortality due to Covid-19 amongst 3.5 million people in Scotland. Vaccinated people with severe obesity (BMI>40 kg/m2) were significantly more likely to experience hospitalization or death from Covid-19. Excess risk increased with time since vaccination. To investigate the underlying mechanisms, we conducted a prospective longitudinal study of the immune response in a clinical cohort of vaccinated people with severe obesity. Compared with normal weight controls, six months after their second vaccine dose, significantly more people with severe obesity had unquantifiable titres of neutralizing antibody against authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus, reduced frequencies of antigen-experienced SARS-CoV-2 Spike-binding B cells, and a dissociation between anti-Spike antibody levels and neutralizing capacity. Neutralizing capacity was restored by a third dose of vaccine, but again declined more rapidly in people with severe obesity. We demonstrate that waning of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-induced humoral immunity is accelerated in people with severe obesity and associated with increased hospitalization and mortality from breakthrough infections. Given the prevalence of obesity, our findings have significant implications for global public health.


Subject(s)
Obesity , Breakthrough Pain , COVID-19
7.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.05.04.22274668

ABSTRACT

Background: There are no data on vaccine elicited neutralising antibody responses for the most widely used vaccine, AZD1222, in African populations following scale up. Here, we measured i. baseline SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and levels of protective antibodies prior to vaccination rollout using both flow cytometric based analysis of binding antibodies to nucleocapsid (N), coupled with virus neutralisation approaches and ii. neutralizing antibody responses to VOC prior to vaccination (January 2021) and after two-doses of AZD1222 vaccine administered between June and July 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria, during a period when the Delta variant was also circulating. Methods: Health workers at multiple sites in Lagos were recruited to the study. For binding antibody measurement, IgG antibodies against SARS-COV-2 Wuhan-1 receptor-binding domain (RBD), trimeric spike protein (S), nucleocapsid protein (N) and Omicron S1 were measured using the Luminex-based SARS-CoV-2-IgG assay by flow cytometry. For plasma neutralising antibody measurement, SARS-CoV-2 lentiviral pseudovirus (PV) were prepared by transfecting 293T cells with Wuhan-614G wild type (WT), B.1.617.2 (Delta) and BA.1 (Omicron) plasmids in conjunction with HIV-1 expression vectors and luciferase encoding genome flanked by LTRs. We performed serial plasma dilutions from each time point and mixed plasma with PV before infecting HeLa-ACE2 cell lines, reading out luminescence and calculating ID50 (dilution of sera required to inhibit 50% of PV infection). Results: Our study population who received at least one dose of vaccine comprised 140 participants with a median age of 40 (interquartile range: 33, 48). 62/140 (44%) participants were anti-N IgG positive prior to administration of first vaccine dose. 49 had plasma samples available at baseline prior to vaccination and at two follow-up timepoints post vaccination for neutralization assays. Half of the participants, 25/49 (51%) were IgG anti-N positive at baseline. Of the 24 individuals anti-N Ab negative at baseline, 12/24 had ID50 above the cut-off of 20. In these individuals, binding antibodies to S were also detectable, and neutralisation correlated with IgG anti-S. Overall, neutralizing Ab titres to WT 1 month after second dose were 2579 and at 3 months post second-dose were 1695. As expected, lower levels of neutralization were observed against the Delta GMT 549 and Omicron variants 269 at 1 month. Positive anti-N IgG Ab status at baseline was associated with significantly higher titres of neutralizing antibodies following vaccination across all tested VOC. Those with anti-N Abs present at baseline did not experience waning of responses between months 1 and 3 post second dose. When data were analysed for negative anti-N IgG status at any timepoint, there was a significant decline in neutralization and binding antibodies between 1 month and 3 months post second-dose. The GMT in these individuals for Delta and Omicron was approximately 100, nearly a log lower in comparison to WT. We tested anti-N IgG in subjects who were anti-N IgG negative at baseline (n=78) and became positive between 1- and 3-months post second dose and found 7/49 (14%) with de-novo infection, with one additional participant demonstrating both reinfection and breakthrough infection to yield a total breakthrough rate of 8/49 (16%). Neutralising and binding Ab titres 1 month post vaccine, prior to breakthrough, did not appear to be associated with breakthrough infection. Neutralizing titres were higher at the last time point in individuals who had experienced vaccine breakthrough infection (with no evidence of infection prior to vaccine), indicating a boosting effect of infection in addition to vaccine. We noted that the increase in titres against Delta PV observed in breakthrough was significantly greater than the increase for WT and Omicron PVs, coincident with in the Delta wave of infection during the sampling period. Conclusions: AZD1222 is immunogenic in this real world west African cohort with significant background seroprevalence and incidence of breakthrough infection over a short time period. Prior infection and breakthrough infection induced higher anti-SARS-CoV-2 Ab responses at 3 months post vaccine against all widely circulating VOC. However, responses to Omicron BA.1 were reduced at three months regardless of prior exposure. Given that data suggesting that mRNA vaccine booster third doses induce broader, more potent responses with reduced mortality in the elderly, further doses after AZD1222 should be considered for those at high risk.


Subject(s)
Breakthrough Pain
8.
researchsquare; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-1202990.v1

ABSTRACT

BackgroundDialysis patients and immunosuppressed renal patients are at increased risk of COVID-19 and were excluded from vaccine trials. We conducted a prospective multicentre study to assess SARS-CoV-2 vaccine antibody responses in dialysis patients and renal transplant recipients, and patients receiving immunosuppression for autoimmune disease. Methods Patients were recruited from three UK centres (ethics:20/EM/0180) and compared to healthy controls (ethics:17/EE/0025). SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies to spike protein were measured using a multiplex Luminex assay, after first and second doses of Pfizer BioNTech BNT162b2(Pfizer) or Oxford-AstraZeneca ChAdOx1nCoV-19(AZ) vaccine.Results692 patients were included (260 dialysis, 209 transplant, 223 autoimmune disease (prior rituximab 128(57%)) and 144 healthy controls. 299(43%) patients received Pfizer vaccine and 379(55%) received AZ.  Following two vaccine doses, positive responses occurred in 96% dialysis, 52% transplant, 70% autoimmune patients and 100% of healthy controls. In dialysis patients, higher antibody responses were observed with the Pfizer vaccination. Predictors of poor antibody response were triple immunosuppression (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]0.016;95%CI0.002-0.13;p<0.001) and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) (aOR0.2;95%CI 0.1-0.42;p<0.001) in transplant patients; rituximab within 12 months in autoimmune patients (aOR0.29;95%CI 0.008–0.096;p<0.001) and patients receiving immunosuppression with eGFR 15-29ml/min (aOR0.031;95%CI 0.11–0.84;p=0.021). ConclusionsAmongst dialysis, kidney transplant and autoimmune populations SARS-CoV-2 vaccine antibody responses are reduced compared to healthy controls. A reduced response to vaccination was associated with rituximab, MMF, triple immunosuppression CKD stage 4. Vaccine responses increased after the second dose, suggesting low-responder groups should be prioritised for repeated vaccination. Greater antibody responses were observed with the mRNA Pfizer vaccine compared to adenovirus AZ vaccine in dialysis patients suggesting that Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 vaccine should be the preferred vaccine choice in this sub-group.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
9.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.12.03.21266112

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has been associated with many neurological complications including stroke, delirium and encephalitis. Furthermore, many individuals experience a protracted post-viral syndrome which is dominated by neuropsychiatric symptoms, and is seemingly unrelated to COVID-19 severity. The true frequency and underlying mechanisms of neurological injury are unknown, but exaggerated host inflammatory responses appear to be a key driver of severe COVID-19 more broadly. We sought to investigate the dynamics of, and relationship between, serum markers of brain injury (neurofilament light [NfL], Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein [GFAP] and total Tau) and markers of dysregulated host response including measures of autoinflammation (proinflammatory cytokines) and autoimmunity. Brain injury biomarkers were measured using the Quanterix Simoa HDx platform, cytokine profiling by Luminex (R&D) and autoantibodies by a custom protein microarray. During hospitalisation, patients with COVID-19 demonstrated elevations of NfL and GFAP in a severity-dependant manner, and there was evidence of ongoing active brain injury at follow-up 4 months later. Raised NfL and GFAP were associated with both elevations of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the presence of autoantibodies; autoantibodies were commonly seen against lung surfactant proteins as well as brain proteins such as myelin associated glycoprotein, but reactivity was seen to a large number of different antigens. Furthermore, a distinct process characterised by elevation of serum total Tau was seen in patients at follow-up, which appeared to be independent of initial disease severity and was not associated with dysregulated immune responses in the same manner as NfL and GFAP.


Subject(s)
Encephalitis , Myokymia , COVID-19 , Delirium , Hereditary Autoinflammatory Diseases , Nervous System Diseases , Chronobiology Disorders , Stroke , Brain Diseases , Central Nervous System Diseases
10.
ssrn; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3947817

ABSTRACT

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines define Long COVID as signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with COVID-19, that continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis. Long COVID is as yet poorly understood and difficult to diagnose. The diagnostic complexity of Long COVID is compounded in many patients who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 but not tested at acute presentation and are antibody negative. Given the diagnostic conundrum of Long COVID, we set out to design a SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell assay, to follow up a cohort of undifferentiated mostly non-hospitalised patients with Long COVID for up to 13 months. Here, we show that IL-2 release from SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells shows >75% sensitivity and >88% specificity in identifying individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection >6 months after a positive PCR test.Funding: This work was funded by Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust grant awarded to N.S. and supported by the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.Declaration of Interest: The authors declare no competing interestsEthical Approval: The Long COVID study patients were recruited and consented under the Cambridge COVID-19 NIHR BioResource joint Consent Form (Research Ethics Committee (NRES number (REC)) no. T1gC1) study NBR87.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
11.
researchsquare; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-989434.v1

ABSTRACT

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines define Long COVID as signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with COVID-19, that continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis. Long COVID is as yet poorly understood and difficult to diagnose. The diagnostic complexity of Long COVID is compounded in many patients who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 but not tested at acute presentation and are antibody negative. Given the diagnostic conundrum of Long COVID, we set out to design a SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell assay, to follow up a cohort of undifferentiated mostly non-hospitalised patients with Long COVID for up to 13 months. Here, we show that IL-2 release from SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells shows >75% sensitivity and >88% specificity in identifying individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection >6 months after a positive PCR test.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
12.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.05.21.21257572

ABSTRACT

Precision monitoring of antibody responses during the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly important during large scale vaccine rollout and rise in prevalence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOC). Equally important is defining Correlates of Protection (CoP) for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease. Data from epidemiological studies and vaccine trials identified virus neutralising antibodies (Nab) and SARS-CoV-2 antigen-specific (notably RBD, and S) binding antibodies as candidate CoP. In this study, we used the World Health Organisation (WHO) international standard to benchmark neutralising antibody responses and a large panel of binding antibody assays to compare convalescent sera obtained from: a) COVID-19 patients; b) SARS-CoV-2 seropositive healthcare workers (HCW) and c) seronegative HCW. The ultimate aim of this study, was to identify biomarkers of humoral immunity that could be used as candidate CoP in internationally accepted unitage. Whenever suitable, the antibody levels of the samples studied were expressed in International Units (INU) for virus neutralisation assays or International Binding Antibody Units (BAU) for ELISA tests. In this work we used commercial and non-commercial antibody binding assays; a lateral flow test for detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG / IgM; a high throughput multiplexed particle flow cytometry assay for SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S), Nucleocapsid (N) and Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) proteins); a multiplex antigen semi-automated immuno-blotting assay measuring IgM, IgA and IgG; a pseudotyped microneutralisation test (pMN) and electroporation-dependent neutralisation assay (EDNA). Our results indicate that overall, severe COVID-19 patients showed statistically significantly higher levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralising antibodies (average 1029 IU/ml) than those observed in seropositive HCW with mild or asymptomatic infections (379 IU/ml) and that clinical severity scoring, based on WHO guidelines was tightly correlated with neutralisation and RBD / S binding assays. In addition, there was a positive correlation between severity, N-antibody assays and intracellular virus neutralisation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
13.
researchsquare; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-428630.v1

ABSTRACT

Vaccines remain the cornerstone for containing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. mRNA vaccines provide protection in clinical trials using a two-dose approach, separated by a three to four week gap. UK policy in 2021 is to extend the dosing interval from three to twelve weeks and other countries are likely to follow suit given the demand for mRNA vaccines and ongoing uncontrolled transmission. There is a paucity of data in the elderly, even though these individuals are the first to receive vaccines due to risk of severe disease. Here we assessed real world immune responses following vaccination with mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b2. Median age was 81 years amongst 101 participants after the first dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine. Geometric mean neutralisation titres in participants over 80 years old after the first dose were lower than in younger individuals [83.4 (95% CI 52.0-133.7) vs 46.6 (95% CI 33.5-64.8) p 0.01]. A lower proportion of participants 80 years and older achieved adequate neutralisation titre of >1:20 for 50% neutralisation as compared to those under 80 (21% vs 51%, p 0.003). Binding IgG responses correlated with neutralisation. Sera from participants in both age groups showed significantly lower neutralisation potency against B.1.1.7 Spike pseudotyped viruses as compared to wild type. The adjusted ORs for inadequate neutralisation in the 80 years and above age group were 3.7 (95% CI 1.2-11.2) and 4.4 (95% CI 1.5-12.6) against wild type and B.1.1.7 pseudotyped viruses. We observed a trend towards lower somatic hypermutation in participants with suboptimal neutralisation, and elderly participants demonstrated clear reduction in class switched somatic hypermutation, driven by the IgA1/2 isotype. SARS-CoV-2 Spike specific T- cell IFN𝛾 and IL-2 responses were impaired in the older age group after 1 dose and although IFN𝛾 increased between vaccine doses, IL-2 responses did not significantly increase. There was a significantly higher risk of suboptimal neutralising antibody and T cell response following first dose vaccination with BNT162b2 in half of participants above the age of 80, persisting up to 12 weeks. These high risk populations warrant specific measures in order to mitigate against vaccine failure, particularly where SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern are circulating.

14.
researchsquare; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-310411.v1

ABSTRACT

Background: Elevated levels of interferon-gamma (IFNγ) have been found in COVID-19 infection, however its role in this setting remains poorly understood. Cases of non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) infections due to anti-IFNγ autoantibodies (Ab) were first reported in 2004. NTM and COVID-19 co-infection in a patient with acquired IFNγ deficiency has not previously been described. The impact of anti-IFNγ Ab on the severity of COVID-19 has not been previously explored. Objective: We report a case of COVID-19 infection in a patient hospitalised with NTM infection due to acquired IFNγ deficiency caused by anti-IFNγ Ab. We also explore effects of IFNγ Ab on the severity of COVID-19 infection. Methods: : Detailed immunological investigations were performed. Bio-rad, Bio-Plex methodology was used to detect anti-IFNγ Ab, titration, IFNγ recovery assay and SARS-CoV-2 serology. Anti-IFNγ Ab were tested in patients with severe (COV-Pat) and health care workers with mild/asymptomatic COVID-19 infection (COV-Asx). Results: : Mycobacterium avium intracellulare was diagnosed following bone marrow examination and culture. High titre anti-IFNγ Ab were detected in patient’s serum. The autoantibodies neutralized both endogenously produced and exogenously administered IFNγ. SARS-COV-2 infection was identified during routine inpatient testing. Despite prolonged SARS-COV-2 infection the patient showed only minimal additional symptoms, never developed any significant inflammatory complications and eventually mounted an adequate IgG antibody response to the SARS-COV-2 trimeric S-protein. Elevated titres of anti-IFNγ Ab were detected in COV-Pat and COV-Asx, compared to non-infected healthy controls. The titres were broadly similar between COV-Pat and COV-Asx groups, but much lower compared to patients with acquired IFNγ Ab deficiency. Conclusion: IFN-γ is known to play a central role in hyperinflammatory disease states such as macrophage activation syndrome This study illustrates the potential value of inhibiting IFNγ to prevent pathological inflammatory response to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disease
15.
ssrn; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3782450

ABSTRACT

Background: Vaccines remain the cornerstone for containing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. mRNA vaccines provide protection in clinical trials using a two-dose approach, separated by a three to four week gap. UK policy in 2021 is to extend the dosing interval from three to twelve weeks. There is a paucity of data in the elderly, even though these individuals are the first to receive vaccines due to risk of severe disease. Here we assessed real world immune responses following vaccination with mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b2.Methods: We did a prospective cohort study of individuals presenting for first dose vaccination. Following the first and second doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine, we measured IFNγ T cell responses, as well as binding antibody (IgA, IgG and IgG1-4) responses to Spike and Spike RBD. We also measured neutralising antibody responses to Spike in sera using a lentiviral pseudotyping system. We correlated age with immune responses and compared responses after the first and second doses.Findings: Median age was 63.5 years amongst 42 participants. Three weeks after the first dose a lower proportion of participants over 80 years old achieved adequate neutralisation titre of >1:20 for 50% neutralisation as compared to those under 80 (8/17 versus 19/24, p=0.03). Geometric mean neutralisation titres in this age group after the first dose were lower than in younger individuals (p<0.001). Binding IgA and IgG1 and 3 responses developed post vaccination, as observed in natural infection. T- cell responses were not different in those above or below 80 years. Following the second dose, 50% neutralising antibody titres were above 1:20 in all individuals and there was no longer a difference by age grouping.Interpretation: A high proportion of individuals above the age of 80 have suboptimal neutralising antibody responses following first dose vaccination with BNT162b2, cautioning against extending the dosing interval in this high risk population.Funding Statement: RKG is supported by a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship in Clinical Science (WT108082AIA). DAC is supported by a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Research Fellowship. KGCS is the recipient of a Wellcome Investigator Award (200871/Z/16/Z). This research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit (CCTU), the NIHR BioResource and Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust. JAGB is supported by the Medical Research Council (MC_UP_1201/16). IATM is funded by a SANTHE award.Declaration of Interests: None to declare. Ethics Approval Statement: The study was approved by the East of England – Cambridge Central Research Ethics Committee (17/EE/0025).

16.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.02.03.21251054

ABSTRACT

Two dose mRNA vaccination provides excellent protection against SARS-CoV-2. However, there are few data on vaccine efficacy in elderly individuals above the age of 801. Additionally, new variants of concern (VOC) with reduced sensitivity to neutralising antibodies have raised fears for vulnerable groups. Here we assessed humoral and cellular immune responses following vaccination with mRNA vaccine BNT162b22 in elderly participants prospectively recruited from the community and younger health care workers. Median age was 72 years and 51% were females amongst 140 participants. Neutralising antibody responses after the first vaccine dose diminished with increasing age, with a marked drop in participants over 80 years old. Sera from participants below and above 80 showed significantly lower neutralisation potency against B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1. variants of concern as compared to wild type. Those over 80 were more likely to lack any neutralisation against VOC compared to younger participants following first dose. The adjusted odds ratio for inadequate neutralisation activity against the B.1.1.7, P.1 and B.1.351 variant in the older versus younger age group was 4.3 (95% CI 2.0-9.3, p<0.001), 6.7 (95% CI 1.7-26.3, p=0.008) and 1.7 (95% CI 0.5-5.7, p=0.41). Binding IgG and IgA antibodies were lower in the elderly, as was the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 Spike specific B-memory cells. We observed a trend towards lower somatic hypermutation in participants with suboptimal neutralisation, and elderly participants demonstrated clear reduction in class switched somatic hypermutation, driven by the IgA1/2 isotype. SARS-CoV-2 Spike specific T-cell IFN{gamma} and IL-2 responses fell with increasing age, and both cytokines were secreted primarily by CD4 T cells. We conclude that the elderly are a high risk population that warrant specific measures in order to mitigate against vaccine failure, particularly where variants of concern are circulating.

17.
researchsquare; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-156101.v1

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 transmission is uncontrolled in many parts of the world, compounded in some areas by higher transmission potential of the B1.1.7 variant now seen in 50 countries. It is unclear whether responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines based on the prototypic strain will be impacted by mutations found in B.1.1.7. Here we assessed immune responses following vaccination with mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b2. We measured neutralising antibody responses following a single immunization using pseudoviruses expressing the wild-type Spike protein or the 8 mutations found in the B.1.1.7 Spike protein. The vaccine sera exhibited a broad range of neutralizing titres against the wild-type pseudoviruses (<1:4 to 3449) that were reduced against B.1.1.7 variant by 3.85 fold (IQR 2.68-5.28). This reduction was also evident in sera from some convalescent patients. Decreased B.1.1.7 neutralization was also observed with monoclonal antibodies targeting the N-terminal domain (9 out of 10), the Receptor Binding Motif (RBM) (5 outof 29), but not in neutralizing mAbs binding outside the RBM. Introduction of the E484K mutation in a B.1.1.7 background led to a further loss of neutralizing activity by vaccine-elicited antibodies over that conferred by the B.1.1.7 mutations alone. Further work is needed to establish the impact of these observations on protective vaccine efficacy in the context of the evolving B.1.1.7 lineage that will likely acquire E484K.

18.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.01.19.21249840

ABSTRACT

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission is uncontrolled in many parts of the world, compounded in some areas by higher transmission potential of the B1.1.7 variant now seen in 50 countries. It is unclear whether responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines based on the prototypic strain will be impacted by mutations found in B.1.1.7. Here we assessed immune responses following vaccination with mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b2. We measured neutralising antibody responses following a single immunization using pseudoviruses expressing the wild-type Spike protein or the 8 amino acid mutations found in the B.1.1.7 spike protein. The vaccine sera exhibited a broad range of neutralising titres against the wild-type pseudoviruses that were modestly reduced against B.1.1.7 variant. This reduction was also evident in sera from some convalescent patients. Decreased B.1.1.7 neutralisation was also observed with monoclonal antibodies targeting the N-terminal domain (9 out of 10), the Receptor Binding Motif (RBM) (5 out of 31), but not in neutralising mAbs binding outside the RBM. Introduction of the E484K mutation in a B.1.1.7 background to reflect newly emerging viruses in the UK led to a more substantial loss of neutralising activity by vaccine-elicited antibodies and mAbs (19 out of 31) over that conferred by the B.1.1.7 mutations alone. E484K emergence on a B.1.1.7 background represents a threat to the vaccine BNT162b.

19.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.01.11.20248765

ABSTRACT

In a study of 207 SARS-CoV2-infected individuals with a range of severities followed over 12 weeks from symptom onset, we demonstrate that an early robust immune response, without systemic inflammation, is characteristic of asymptomatic or mild disease. Those presenting to hospital had delayed adaptive responses and systemic inflammation already evident at around symptom onset. Such early evidence of inflammation suggests immunopathology may be inevitable in some individuals, or that preventative intervention might be needed before symptom onset. Viral load does not correlate with the development of this pathological response, but does with its subsequent severity. Immune recovery is complex, with profound persistent cellular abnormalities correlating with a change in the nature of the inflammatory response, where signatures characteristic of increased oxidative phosphorylation and reactive-oxygen species-associated inflammation replace those driven by TNF and IL-6. These late immunometabolic inflammatory changes and unresolved immune cell defects, if persistent, may contribute to "long COVID".


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Chronobiology Disorders , Inflammation
20.
ssrn; 2020.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3757074

ABSTRACT

In a study of 207 SARS-CoV2-infected individuals with a range of severities followed over 12 weeks from symptom onset, we demonstrate that an early robust immune response, without systemic inflammation, is characteristic of asymptomatic or mild disease. Those presenting to hospital had delayed adaptive responses and systemic inflammation already evident at around symptom onset. Such early evidence of inflammation suggests immunopathology may be inevitable in some individuals, or that preventative intervention might be needed before symptom onset. Viral load does not correlate with the development of this pathological response, but does with its subsequent severity. Immune recovery is complex, with profound persistent cellular abnormalities correlating with a change in the nature of the inflammatory response, where signatures characteristic of increased oxidative phosphorylation and reactive-oxygen species-associated inflammation replace those driven by TNF and IL-6. These late immunometabolic inflammatory changes and unresolved immune cell defects, if persistent, may contribute to “long COVID”.Funding: We are grateful for the generous support of CVC Capital Partners, the Evelyn Trust (20/75), UKRI COVID Immunology Consortium, Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (12/20A) and the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre for their financial support. K.G.C.S. is the recipient of a Wellcome Investigator Award (200871/Z/16/Z); M.P.W. is the recipient of Wellcome Senior Clinical Research Fellowship (108070/Z/15/Z); C.H. was funded by a Wellcome COVID-19 Rapid Response DCF and the Fondation Botnar; N.M. was funded by the MRC (CSF MR/P008801/1) and NHSBT (WPA15-02); I.G.G. is a Wellcome Senior Fellow and was supported by funding from the Wellcome (Ref: 207498/Z/17/Z).Conflict of Interest: The authors declare they have no competing interests.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Long QT Syndrome , Inflammation
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