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JAMA Netw Open ; 4(11): e2132563, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1499193


Importance: Although several studies have provided information on short-term clinical outcomes in children with perinatal exposure to SARS-CoV-2, data on the immune response in the first months of life among newborns exposed to the virus in utero are lacking. Objective: To characterize systemic and mucosal antibody production during the first 2 months of life among infants who were born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2. Design, Setting, and Participants: This prospective cohort study enrolled 28 pregnant women who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection and who gave birth at Policlinico Umberto I in Rome, Italy, from November 2020 to May 2021, and their newborns. Maternal and neonatal systemic immune responses were investigated by detecting spike-specific antibodies in serum, and the mucosal immune response was assessed by measuring specific antibodies in maternal breastmilk and infant saliva 48 hours after delivery and 2 months later. Exposures: Maternal infection with SARS-CoV-2 in late pregnancy. Main Outcomes and Measures: The systemic immune response was evaluated by the detection of SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA antibodies and receptor binding domain-specific IgM antibodies in maternal and neonatal serum. The mucosal immune response was assessed by measuring spike-specific antibodies in breastmilk and in infant saliva, and the presence of antigen-antibody spike IgA immune complexes was investigated in breastmilk samples. All antibodies were detected using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: In total, 28 mother-infant dyads (mean [SD] maternal age, 31.8 [6.4] years; mean [SD] gestational age, 38.1 [2.3] weeks; 18 [60%] male infants) were enrolled at delivery, and 21 dyads completed the study at 2 months' follow-up. Because maternal infection was recent in all cases, transplacental transfer of virus spike-specific IgG antibodies occurred in only 1 infant. One case of potential vertical transmission and 1 case of horizontal infection were observed. Virus spike protein-specific salivary IgA antibodies were significantly increased (P = .01) in infants fed breastmilk (0.99 arbitrary units [AU]; IQR, 0.39-1.68 AU) vs infants fed an exclusive formula diet (0.16 AU; IQR, 0.02-0.83 AU). Maternal milk contained IgA spike immune complexes at 48 hours (0.53 AU; IQR, 0.25-0.39 AU) and at 2 months (0.09 AU; IQR, 0.03-0.17 AU) and may have functioned as specific stimuli for the infant mucosal immune response. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific IgA antibodies were detected in infant saliva, which may partly explain why newborns are resistant to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Mothers infected in the peripartum period appear to not only passively protect the newborn via breastmilk secretory IgA but also actively stimulate and train the neonatal immune system via breastmilk immune complexes.

COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Milk, Human/immunology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/isolation & purification , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/isolation & purification , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical/prevention & control , Male , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/blood , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Saliva/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
J Clin Immunol ; 41(8): 1709-1722, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474048


BACKGROUND: Data on immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients with Primary Antibody Deficiencies (PAD) are limited to infected patients and to heterogeneous cohorts after immunization. METHODS: Forty-one patients with Common Variable Immune Deficiencies (CVID), six patients with X-linked Agammaglobulinemia (XLA), and 28 healthy age-matched controls (HD) were analyzed for anti-Spike and anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) antibody production, generation of Spike-specific memory B-cells, and Spike-specific T-cells before vaccination and one week after the second dose of BNT162b2 vaccine. RESULTS: The vaccine induced Spike-specific IgG and IgA antibody responses in all HD and in 20% of SARS-CoV-2 naive CVID patients. Anti-Spike IgG were detectable before vaccination in 4 out 7 CVID previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and were boosted in six out of seven patients by the subsequent immunization raising higher levels than patients naïve to infection. While HD generated Spike-specific memory B-cells, and RBD-specific B-cells, CVID generated Spike-specific atypical B-cells, while RBD-specific B-cells were undetectable in all patients, indicating the incapability to generate this new specificity. Specific T-cell responses were evident in all HD and defective in 30% of CVID. All but one patient with XLA responded by specific T-cell only. CONCLUSION: In PAD patients, early atypical immune responses after BNT162b2 immunization occurred, possibly by extra-follicular or incomplete germinal center reactions. If these responses to vaccination might result in a partial protection from infection or reinfection is now unknown. Our data suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection more effectively primes the immune response than the immunization alone, possibly suggesting the need for a third vaccine dose for patients not previously infected.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunologic Memory , Lymphocytes/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology