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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266704

ABSTRACT

In immunocompetent subjects, the effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines against the delta variant appears three- to five-fold lower than that observed against the alpha variant. Additionally, three doses of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-based vaccines might be unable to elicit a sufficient immune response against any variant in immunocompromised kidney transplant recipients. This study describes the kinetics of the neutralizing antibody (NAbs) response against the delta strain before and after a fourth dose of a mRNA vaccine in 67 kidney transplant recipients who had experienced a weak antibody response after three doses. While only 16% of patients harbored NAbs against the delta strain prior to the fourth injection - this percentage raised to 66% afterwards. We also found that, after the fourth dose, the NAbs titer increased significantly (p=0.0001) from <7.5 (IQR : <7.5-15.1) to 47.1 (IQR <7.5-284.2). Collectively, our data indicate that a fourth dose of the mRNA-1273 vaccine in kidney transplant recipients with a weak antibody response after three previous doses improves serum neutralization against the delta variant.

2.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266252

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTIONThe objectives of this study were to assess the dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 anti-RBD IgG response over time among older people after COVID-19 infection or vaccination and its comparison with speculative levels of protection assumed by current data. METHODSFrom November 2020 to October 2021, we included geriatric patients with serological test results for COVID-19. We considered antibody titre thresholds thought to be high enough to protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection: 141 BAU/ml for protection/vaccine efficacy > 89.3%. Three cohorts are presented. A vaccine group (n=34) that received two BNT162b2/Comirnaty injections 21 days apart, a group of natural COVID-19 infection (n=32) and a third group who contracted COVID-19 less than 15 days after the first BNT162b2/Comirnaty injection (n=17). RESULTS83 patients were included, the median age was 87 (81-91) years. In the vaccine group at 1 month since the first vaccination, the median BAU/ml with IQR was 620 (217-1874) with 87% of patients above the threshold of 141 BAU/ml. Seven months after the first vaccination the BAU/ml was 30 (19-58) with 9.5% of patients above the threshold of 141 BAU/ml. In the natural COVID-19 infection group, at 1 month since the date of first symptom onset, the median BAU/ml was 798 (325-1320) with 86.7% of patients above the threshold of 141 BAU/ml and fell to 88 (37-385) with 42.9% of patients above the threshold of 141 BAU/ml at 2 months. The natural infection group was vaccinated three months after the infection. Five months after the end of the vaccination cycle the BAU/ml was 2048 (471-4386) with 83.3% of patients above the threshold of 141 BAU/ml. DISCUSSIONOn the humoral level, this supports the clinical results describing the decrease in vaccine protection over time.

3.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21260852

ABSTRACT

Transplant recipients, which receive therapeutic immunosuppression to prevent graft rejection, are characterized by high COVID-19-related mortality and defective response to vaccines. Having observed that previous infection by SARS-CoV-2 but not the standard "2 doses" scheme of vaccination, provided complete protection against COVID-19 to transplant recipients, we undertook this translational study to compare the cellular and humoral immune responses of these 2 groups of patients. Neutralizing anti-Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) IgG were identified as the critical immune effectors associated with protection. Generation of anti-RBD IgG was dependent upon spike-specific T follicular helper (Tfh) CD4+ T cells, which acted as limiting checkpoint. Tfh generation was impeded by high dose mycophenolate mofetil in non-responders to vaccine but not in infected patients, suggesting that increasing immunogenicity of vaccine could improve response rate to mRNA vaccine. This theory was validated in two independent prospective cohorts, in which administration of a 3rd dose of vaccine resulted in the generation of anti-RBD IgG in half of non-responders to 2 doses. One sentence summaryThe generation of neutralizing IgG, which protects kidney transplant recipients from COVID-19, requires T follicular helper cells.

4.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21257822

ABSTRACT

The etiopathogenesis of severe COVID-19 remains unknown. Indeed given major confounding factors (age and co-morbidities), true drivers of this condition have remained elusive. Here, we employ an unprecedented multi-omics analysis, combined with artificial intelligence, in a young patient cohort where major co-morbidities have been excluded at the onset. Here, we established a three-tier cohort of individuals younger than 50 years without major comorbidities. These included 47 "critical" (in the ICU under mechanical ventilation) and 25 "non-critical" (in a noncritical care ward) COVID-19 patients as well as 22 healthy individuals. The analyses included whole-genome sequencing, whole-blood RNA sequencing, plasma and blood mononuclear cells proteomics, cytokine profiling and high-throughput immunophenotyping. An ensemble of machine learning, deep learning, quantum annealing and structural causal modeling led to key findings. Critical patients were characterized by exacerbated inflammation, perturbed lymphoid/myeloid compartments, coagulation and viral cell biology. Within a unique gene signature that differentiated critical from noncritical patients, several driver genes promoted severe COVID-19 among which the upregulated metalloprotease ADAM9 was key. This gene signature was replicated in an independent cohort of 81 critical and 73 recovered COVID-19 patients, as were ADAM9 transcripts, soluble form and proteolytic activity. Ex vivo ADAM9 inhibition affected SARS-CoV-2 uptake and replication in human lung epithelial cells. In conclusion, within a young, otherwise healthy, COVID-19 cohort, we provide the landscape of biological perturbations in vivo where a unique gene signature differentiated critical from non-critical patients. The key driver, ADAM9, interfered with SARS-CoV-2 biology. A repositioning strategy for anti-ADAM9 therapeutic is feasible. One sentence summaryEtiopathogenesis of severe COVID19 in a young patient population devoid of comorbidities.

5.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-445838

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 lineage emerged in October 2020 in India1-6. It has since then become dominant in some indian regions and further spread to many countries. The lineage includes three main subtypes (B1.617.1, B.1617.2 and B.1.617.3), which harbour diverse Spike mutations in the N-terminal domain (NTD) and the receptor binding domain (RBD) which may increase their immune evasion potential. B.1.617.2 is believed to spread faster than the other versions. Here, we isolated infectious B.1.617.2 from a traveller returning from India. We examined its sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and to antibodies present in sera from COVID-19 convalescent individuals or vaccine recipients, in comparison to other viral lineages. B.1.617.2 was resistant to neutralization by some anti-NTD and anti-RBD mAbs, including Bamlanivimab, which were impaired in binding to the B.1.617.2 Spike. Sera from convalescent patients collected up to 12 months post symptoms and from Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine recipients were 3 to 6 fold less potent against B.1.617.2, relative to B.1.1.7. Sera from individuals having received one dose of AstraZeneca Vaxzevria barely inhibited B.1.617.2. Thus, B.1.617.2 spread is associated with an escape to antibodies targeting non-RBD and RBD Spike epitopes.

6.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21256823

ABSTRACT

Assessment of the kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is essential to predict protection against reinfection and durability of vaccine protection. Here, we longitudinally measured Spike (S) and Nucleocapsid (N)-specific antibodies in 1,309 healthcare workers (HCW) including 393 convalescent COVID-19 and 916 COVID-19 negative HCW up to 405 days. From M1 to M7-9 after infection, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies decreased moderately in convalescent HCW in a biphasic model, with men showing a slower decay of anti-N (p=0.02), and a faster decay of anti-S (p=0.0008) than women. At M11-13, anti-N antibodies dramatically decreased (half-life: 210 days) while anti-S stabilized (half-life: 630 days) at a median of 2.41 log Arbitrary Units (AU)/mL (Interquartile Range (IQR): 2.11 -2.75). One case of reinfection was recorded in convalescent HCW (0.47 per 100 person-years) versus 50 in COVID-19 negative HCW (10.11 per 100 person-years). Correlation with live-virus neutralization assay revealed that variants D614G and B.1.1.7, but not B.1.351, were sensitive to anti-S antibodies at 2.3 log AU/mL, while IgG [≥] 3 log AU/mL neutralized all three variants. After SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, anti-S levels reached 4 logs regardless of pre-vaccination IgG levels, type of vaccine, and number of doses. Our study demonstrates a long-term persistence of anti-S IgG antibodies that may protect against reinfection. By significantly increasing cross-neutralizing antibody titers, a single-dose vaccination strengthens protection against escape mutants.

7.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21255167

ABSTRACT

BackgroundCOVID-19 long-haulers or "long-COVID" represent 10% of COVID-19 patients and remain understudied. MethodsIn this prospective study, we recruited 30 consecutive patients seeking medical help for persistent symptoms (> 30 days) attributed to COVID-19. All reported a viral illness compatible with COVID-19. The patients underwent a multi-modal evaluation including clinical, psychological, virological, specific immunological assays and were followed longitudinally. ResultsThe median age was 40 [interquartile range: 35-54] and 18 (60%) were female. After a median time of 152 [102-164] days after symptom onset, fever, cough and dyspnea were less frequently reported as compared with the initial presentation, but paresthesia and burning pain emerged in 18 (60%) and 13 (43%) patients, respectively. The clinical examination was unremarkable in all patients although the median fatigue and pain visual analogic scales were 7 [5-8] and 5 [2-6], respectively. Extensive biological studies were unremarkable, as were multiplex cytokine and ultra-sensitive interferon-a2 measurements. At this time, nasopharyngeal swab and stool RT-PCR were negative for all tested patients. Using SARS-CoV-2 serology and IFN-{gamma} ELISPOT, we found evidence of a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in 50% (15/30) of patients, with objective evidence of lack or waning of immune response in two. Finally, psychiatric evaluation showed that 11 (36.7%), 13 (43.3%) and 9 (30%) patients had a positive screening for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, respectively. ConclusionsHalf of patients seeking medical help for long-COVID lack SARS-CoV-2 immunity. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 immunity did not cluster clinically or biologically long haulers, who reported severe fatigue, altered quality of life, and exhibited psychological distress. Key pointsO_LIAmong 30 consecutive patients reporting persistent symptoms (median 6 months) self-attributed to COVID-19, pain, fatigue and disability were reported in virtually all patients. C_LIO_LIMore than one third of patients suffer from psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder, regardless of SARS-CoV-2 immunity. C_LIO_LIAt the time of evaluation, only 50% of patients had cellular and/or humoral sign of a past SARS-CoV-2, and serology positivity varied depending of the kit used. C_LIO_LIExhaustive clinical, biological and immunological evaluations failed to find an alternative diagnosis, or to identify specific cytokine signature including type I interferon. C_LI

8.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21252741

ABSTRACT

Data concerning the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response after mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) are currently lacking. Here, we sought to examine this issue by analyzing the serological response observed in 241 KTRs after a first vaccine injection. Our results indicate that KTRs have a weak anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response, ultimately resulting in a low seroconversion rate (26/241, 10.8%). This phenomenon likely stems from a high immunosuppression burden in this clinical population.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21252532

ABSTRACT

Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces a complex antibody response that varies by orders of magnitude between individuals and over time. Waning antibody levels lead to reduced sensitivity of serological diagnostic tests over time. This undermines the utility of serological surveillance as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic progresses into its second year. Here we develop a multiplex serological test for measuring antibodies of three isotypes (IgG, IgM, IgA) to five SARS-CoV-2 antigens (Spike (S), receptor binding domain (RBD), Nucleocapsid (N), Spike subunit 2, Membrane-Envelope fusion) and the Spike proteins of four seasonal coronaviruses. We measure antibody responses in several cohorts of French and Irish hospitalized patients and healthcare workers followed for up to eleven months after symptom onset. The data are analysed with a mathematical model of antibody kinetics to quantify the duration of antibody responses accounting for inter-individual variation. One year after symptoms, we estimate that 36% (95% range: 11%, 94%) of anti-S IgG remains, 31% (9%, 89%) anti-RBD IgG remains, and 7% (1%, 31%) anti-N IgG remains. Antibodies of the IgM isotype waned more rapidly, with 9% (2%, 32%) anti-RBD IgM remaining after one year. Antibodies of the IgA isotype also waned rapidly, with 10% (3%, 38%) anti-RBD IgA remaining after one year. Quantitative measurements of antibody responses were used to train machine learning algorithms for classification of previous infection and estimation of time since infection. The resulting diagnostic test classified previous infections with 99% specificity and 98% (95% confidence interval: 94%, 99%) sensitivity, with no evidence for declining sensitivity over the time scale considered. The diagnostic test also provided accurate classification of time since infection into intervals of 0 - 3 months, 3 - 6 months, and 6 - 12 months. Finally, we present a computational method for serological reconstruction of past SARS-CoV-2 transmission using the data from this test when applied to samples from a single cross-sectional sero-prevalence survey.

10.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-430472

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants emerged respectively in United Kingdom and South Africa and spread in many countries. Here, we isolated infectious B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 strains and examined their sensitivity to anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies present in sera and nasal swabs, in comparison with a D614G reference virus. We established a novel rapid neutralization assay, based on reporter cells that become GFP+ after overnight infection. B.1.1.7 was neutralized by 79/83 sera from convalescent patients collected up to 9 months post symptoms, almost similar to D614G. There was a mean 6-fold reduction in titers and even loss of activity against B.1.351 in 40% of convalescent sera after 9 months. Early sera from 19 vaccinated individuals were almost as potent against B.1.1.7 but less efficacious against B.1.351, when compared to D614G. Nasal swabs from vaccine recipients were not neutralizing, except in individuals who were diagnosed COVID-19+ before vaccination. Thus, faster-spreading variants acquired a partial resistance to humoral immunity generated by natural infection or vaccination, mostly visible in individuals with low antibody levels.

11.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20230466

ABSTRACT

The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 humoral response in infected individuals remains poorly characterized. Here, we performed a longitudinal study of sera from 308 RT-qPCR+ individuals with mild disease, collected at two time-points, up to 6 months post-onset of symptoms (POS). We performed two anti-S and one anti-N serology assays and quantified neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). At month 1 (M1), males, individuals > 50 years of age or with a body mass index (BMI) > 25 exhibited higher levels of antibodies. Antibody levels decreased over time. At M3-6, anti-S antibodies persisted in 99% of individuals while anti-N IgG were measurable in only 59% of individuals. The decline in anti-S and NAbs was faster in males than in females, independently of age and BMI. Our results show that some serology tests are less reliable overtime and suggest that the duration of protection after SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination will be different in women and men.

12.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20132449

ABSTRACT

BackgroundIn the background of the current COVID-19 pandemic, serological tests are being used to assess past infection and immunity against SARS-CoV-2. This knowledge is paramount to determine the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the post pandemic period. Several individuals belonging to households with an index COVID-19 patient, reported symptoms of COVID-19 but discrepant serology results. MethodsHere we investigated the humoral and cellular immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 in seven families, including nine index patients and eight contacts, who had evidence of serological discordances within the households. Ten unexposed healthy donors were enrolled as controls. ResultsAll index patients recovered from a mild COVID-19. They all developed anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and a significant T cell response detectable up to 69 days after symptom onset. Six of the eight contacts reported COVID-19 symptoms within 1 to 7 days after the index patients but all were SARS-CoV-2 seronegative. Six out of eight contacts developed a SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response against structural and/or accessory proteins that lasts up to 80 days post symptom onset suggesting a past SARS-CoV-2 infection. ConclusionExposure to SARS-CoV-2 can induce virus-specific T cell responses without seroconversion. T cell responses may be more sensitive indicators of SARS-Co-V-2 exposure than antibodies. Our results indicate that epidemiological data relying only on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies may lead to a substantial underestimation of prior exposure to the virus.

13.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20132076

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread widely, causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and significant mortality. However, data on viral loads and antibody kinetics in immunocompromised populations are lacking. We aimed to determine nasopharyngeal and plasma viral loads via RT-PCR and SARS-CoV-2 serology via ELISA and study their association with severe forms of COVID-19 and death in kidney transplant recipients. In this study we examined hospitalized kidney transplant recipients with non-severe (n = 21) and severe (n =19) COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal and plasma viral load and serological response were evaluated based on outcomes and disease severity. Ten recipients (25%) displayed persistent viral shedding 30 days after symptom onset. The SARS-CoV-2 viral load of the upper respiratory tract was not associated with severe COVID-19, whereas the plasma viral load was associated with COVID-19 severity (p=0.0087) and mortality (p=0.024). All patients harbored antibodies the second week after symptom onset that persisted for two months. We conclude that plasma viral load is associated with COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, whereas nasopharyngeal viral load is not. SARS-CoV-2 shedding is prolonged in kidney transplant recipients and the humoral response to SARS-CoV-2 does not show significant impairment in this series of transplant recipients.

14.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-156166

ABSTRACT

Rapid and accurate diagnosis is crucial for successful outbreak containment. During the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, the gold standard for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection diagnosis is the detection of viral RNA by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. Additional diagnostic methods enabling the detection of current or past SARS-CoV-2 infection would be highly beneficial to ensure the timely diagnosis of all infected and recovered patients. Here, we investigated several serological tools, i.e., two immunochromatographic lateral flow assays (LFA-1 (Biosynex COVID-19 BSS) and LFA-2 (COVID-19 Sign IgM/IgG)) and two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) detecting IgA (ELISA-1 Euroimmun), IgM (ELISA-2 EDI) and/or IgG (ELISA-1 and ELISA-2) based on well-characterized panels of serum samples from patients and healthcare workers with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 and from SARS-CoV-2-negative patients. A total of 272 serum samples were used, including 62 serum samples from hospitalized patients (panel 1 and panel 3), 143 serum samples from healthcare workers (panel 2) diagnosed with COVID-19 and 67 serum samples from negative controls. Diagnostic performances of each assay were assessed according to days after symptom onset (dso) and the antigenic format used by manufacturers. We found overall sensitivities ranging from 69% to 93% on panels 1 and 2 and specificities ranging from 83% to 98%. The clinical sensitivity varied greatly according to the panel tested and the dso. The assays we tested showed poor mutual agreement. A thorough selection of serological assays for the detection of ongoing or past infections is advisable.

15.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20101832

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe serologic response of individuals with mild forms of SARS-CoV-2 infection is poorly characterized. MethodsHospital staff who had recovered from mild forms of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using two assays: a rapid immunodiagnostic test (99.4% specificity) and the S-Flow assay ([~]99% specificity).The neutralizing activity of the sera was tested with a pseudovirus-based assay. ResultsOf 162 hospital staff who participated in the investigation, 160 reported SARS-CoV-2 infection that had not required hospital admission and were included in these analyses. The median time from symptom onset to blood sample collection was 24 days (IQR: 21-28, range 13-39). The rapid immunodiagnostic test detected antibodies in 153 (95.6%) of the samples and the S-Flow assay in 159 (99.4%), failing to detect antibodies in one sample collected 18 days after symptom onset (the rapid test did not detect antibodies in that patient). Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) were detected in 79%, 92% and 98% of samples collected 13-20, 21-27 and 28-41 days after symptom onset, respectively (P=0.02). ConclusionAntibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in virtually all hospital staff sampled from 13 days after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. This finding supports the use of serologic testing for the diagnosis of individuals who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. The neutralizing activity of the antibodies increased overtime. Future studies will help assess the persistence of the humoral response and its associated neutralization capacity in recovered patients.

16.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20093963

ABSTRACT

BackgroundInfection with SARS-CoV-2 induces an antibody response targeting multiple antigens that changes over time. This complexity presents challenges and opportunities for serological diagnostics. MethodsA multiplex serological assay was developed to measure IgG and IgM antibody responses to seven SARS-CoV-2 spike or nucleoprotein antigens, two antigens for the nucleoproteins of the 229E and NL63 seasonal coronaviruses, and three non-coronavirus antigens. Antibodies were measured in serum samples from patients in French hospitals with RT-qPCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 259), and negative control serum samples collected before the start of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic (n = 335). A random forests algorithm was trained with the multiplex data to classify individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. A mathematical model of antibody kinetics informed by prior information from other coronaviruses was used to estimate time-varying antibody responses and assess the potential sensitivity and classification performance of serological diagnostics during the first year following symptom onset. A statistical estimator is presented that can provide estimates of seroprevalence in very low transmission settings. ResultsIgG antibody responses to trimeric Spike protein identified individuals with previous RT-qPCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection with 91.6% sensitivity (95% confidence interval (CI); 87.5%, 94.5%) and 99.1% specificity (95% CI; 97.4%, 99.7%). Using a serological signature of IgG and IgM to multiple antigens, it was possible to identify infected individuals with 98.8% sensitivity (95% CI; 96.5%, 99.6%) and 99.3% specificity (95% CI; 97.6%, 99.8%). Informed by prior data from other coronaviruses, we estimate that one year following infection a monoplex assay with optimal anti-Stri IgG cutoff has 88.7% sensitivity (95% CI: 63.4%, 97.4%), and that a multiplex assay can increase sensitivity to 96.4% (95% CI: 80.9%, 100.0%). When applied to population-level serological surveys, statistical analysis of multiplex data allows estimation of seroprevalence levels less than 1%, below the false positivity rate of many other assays. ConclusionSerological signatures based on antibody responses to multiple antigens can provide accurate and robust serological classification of individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. This provides potential solutions to two pressing challenges for SARS-CoV-2 serological surveillance: classifying individuals who were infected greater than six months ago, and measuring seroprevalence in serological surveys in very low transmission settings.

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