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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.05.23.22275460


Population-level immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is growing through vaccination as well as ongoing circulation. Given waning immunity and emergence of new variants, it is important to dynamically determine the risk of re-infection in the population. For estimating immune protection, neutralization titers are most informative, but these assays are difficult to conduct at a population level. Measurement of antibody levels can be implemented at high throughput, but has not been robustly validated as a correlate of protection. Here, we have developed a method that predicts neutralization and protection based on variant-specific antibody measurements to SARS-CoV-2 antigens. This approach allowed us to estimate population-immunity in a longitudinal cohort from France followed for up to 2 years. Participants with a single vaccination or immunity caused by infection only are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 or hospitalization due to SARS-CoV-2. While the median reduced risk to COVID-19 in participants with 3 vaccinations was 96%, the median reduced risk among participants with infection-acquired immunity only was 42%. The results presented here are consistent with data from vaccine-effectiveness studies indicating robustness of our approach. Our multiplex serological assay can be readily optimized and employed to study any new variant and provides a framework for development of an assay that would include protection estimates.

medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.03.30.22273175


Background: The protective immunity against Omicron following a BNT162b2 Pfizer booster dose among elderly is not well characterized. Methods: Thirty-eight residents from three nursing homes were recruited for the study. Antibodies targeting the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 were measured with the S-Flow assay. Neutralizing activities in sera were measured as effective dilution 50% (ED50) with the S-Fuse assay using authentic isolates of Delta and Omicron. Results: Among the 38 elderly included in the study, with median (inter-quartile range, IQR) age of 88 (81-92) years, 30 (78.9%) had been previously infected. The ED50 of neutralization were lower against Omicron than Delta, and higher among convalescent compared to naive residents. During an Omicron epidemic affecting two of the three nursing homes in December 2021-January 2022, 75% (6/8) of naive residents got infected, compared to 25% (6/24) of convalescents (P=0.03). Antibody levels to Spike and ED50 of neutralization against Omicron after the BNT162b2 booster dose were lower in those with breakthrough infection (n=12) compared to those without (n=20): median of 1256 vs 2523 BAU/mL (P=0.02) and median ED50 of 234 vs 1298 (P=0.0004), respectively. Conclusion: This study confirmed the importance of receiving at least three antigenic exposures to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein for achieving satisfactory neutralizing antibody levels. In this population, protection against Omicron infection was increased in individuals who had been previously infected in addition to the three vaccine doses. Thus, a fourth antigenic exposure may be useful in the elderly population to prevent infection with Omicron, a variant known for its high escape immunity properties.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.06.25.20140178


Background: The extent of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among pupils in primary schools and their families is unknown. Methods: Between 28-30 April 2020, a retrospective cohort study was conducted among pupils, their parents and relatives, and staff of primary schools exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in February and March 2020 in a city north of Paris, France. Participants completed a questionnaire that covered sociodemographic information and history of recent symptoms. A blood sample was tested for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using a flow-cytometry-based assay. Results: The infection attack rate (IAR) was 45/510 (8.8%), 3/42 (7.1%), 1/28 (3.6%), 76/641 (11.9%) and 14/119 (11.8%) among primary school pupils, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents, and relatives, respectively (P = 0.29). Prior to school closure on February 14, three SARS-CoV-2 infected pupils attended three separate schools with no secondary cases in the following 14 days among pupils, teachers and non-teaching staff of the same schools. Familial clustering of cases was documented by the high proportion of antibodies among parents and relatives of infected pupils (36/59 = 61.0% and 4/9 = 44.4%, respectively). In children, disease manifestations were mild, and 24/58 (41.4%) of infected children were asymptomatic. Interpretation: In young children, SARS-CoV-2 infection was largely mild or asymptomatic and there was no evidence of onwards transmission from children in the school setting.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.18.20071134


Background: The Oise department in France has been heavily affected by COVID-19 in early 2020. Methods: Between 30 March and 4 April 2020, we conducted a retrospective closed cohort study among pupils, their parents and siblings, as well as teachers and non-teaching staff of a high-school located in Oise. Participants completed a questionnaire that covered history of fever and/or respiratory symptoms since 13 January 2020 and had blood tested for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The infection attack rate (IAR) was defined as the proportion of participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection based on antibody detection. Blood samples from two blood donor centres collected between 23 and 27 March 2020 in the Oise department were also tested for presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Findings: Of the 661 participants (median age: 37 years), 171 participants had anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The overall IAR was 25.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 22.6-29.4), and the infection fatality rate was 0% (one-sided 97.5% CI = 0-2.1). Nine of the ten participants hospitalised since mid-January were in the infected group, giving a hospitalisation rate of 5.3% (95% CI = 2.4-9.8). Anosmia and ageusia had high positive predictive values for SARS-CoV-2 infection (84.7% and 88.1%, respectively). Smokers had a lower IAR compared to non-smokers (7.2% versus 28.0%, P <0.001). The proportion of infected individuals who had no symptoms during the study period was 17.0% (95% CI = 11.2-23.4). The proportion of donors with anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in two nearby blood banks of the Oise department was 3.0% (95% CI = 1.1-6.4). Interpretation: The relatively low IAR observed in an area where SARS-CoV-2 actively circulated weeks before confinement measures indicates that establishing herd immunity will take time, and that lifting these measures in France will be long and complex.