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Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705787


In light of an increasing number of vaccinated and convalescent individuals, there is a major need for the development of robust methods for the quantification of neutralizing antibodies; although, a defined correlate of protection is still missing. Sera from hospitalized COVID-19 patients suffering or not suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) were comparatively analyzed by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) and pseudotype-based neutralization assays to quantify their neutralizing capacity. The two neutralization assays showed comparable data. In case of the non-ARDS sera, there was a distinct correlation between the data from the neutralization assays on the one hand, and enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA), as well as biophysical analyses, on the other hand. As such, surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based assays for quantification of binding antibodies or analysis of the stability of the antigen-antibody interaction and inhibition of syncytium formation, determined by cell fusion assays, were performed. In the case of ARDS sera, which are characterized by a significantly higher fraction of RBD-binding IgA antibodies, there is a clear correlation between the neutralization assays and the ELISA data. In contrast to this, a less clear correlation between the biophysical analyses on the one hand and ELISAs and neutralization assays on the other hand was observed, which might be explained by the heterogeneity of the antibodies. To conclude, for less complex immune sera-as in cases of non-ARDS sera-combinations of titer quantification by ELISA with inhibition of syncytium formation, SPR-based analysis of antibody binding, determination of the stability of the antigen-antibody complex, and competition of the RBD-ACE2 binding represent alternatives to the classic PRNT for analysis of the neutralizing potential of SARS-CoV-2-specific sera, without the requirement for a BSL3 facility.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Convalescence , Immune Sera/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests
Allergy ; 2021 Oct 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462724


BACKGROUND: People suffering from COVID-19 are typically considered non-infectious 14 days after diagnosis if symptoms have disappeared for at least 48 h. We describe three patients who independently acquired their infection. These three patients experienced mild COVID-19 and completely recovered symptomatically within 10 days, but remained PCR-positive in deep pharyngeal samples for at least 38 days. We attempted to isolate virus from pharyngeal swabs to investigate whether these patients still carried infectious virus. METHODS: Infectious virus was amplified in Vero E6 cells and characterized by electron microscopy and WGS. The immune response was investigated by ELISA and peptide arrays. RESULTS: In all three cases, infectious and replication-competent virus was isolated and amplified in Vero E6 cells. Virus replication was detected by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence microscopy. Electron microscopy confirmed the formation of intact SARS-CoV-2 particles. For a more detailed analysis, all three isolates were characterized by whole-genome sequencing (WGS). The sequence data revealed that the isolates belonged to the 20A or 20C clade, and two mutations in ORF8 were identified among other mutations that could be relevant for establishing a long-term infection. Characterization of the humoral immune response in comparison to patients that had fully recovered from mild COVID-19 revealed a lack of antibodies binding to sequential epitopes of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) for the long-term infected patients. CONCLUSION: Thus, a small portion of COVID-19 patients displays long-term infectivity and termination of quarantine periods after 14 days, without PCR-based testing, should be reconsidered critically.