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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20142596


BackgroundChildren have a lower rate of COVID-19, potentially related to cross-protective immunity conferred by seasonal coronaviruses (HCoVs). We tested if prior infections with seasonal coronaviruses impacted SARS-CoV-2 infections and related Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS). MethodsThis cross-sectional observational study in Paris hospitals enrolled 739 pauci or asymptomatic children (HOS group) plus 36 children with suspected MIS (MIS group). Prevalence, antigen specificity and neutralizing capability of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were tested. Antibody frequency and titres against Nucleocapsid (N) and Spike (S) of the four seasonal coronaviruses (NL63, HKU1, 229E, OC43) were measured in a subset of seropositive patients (54 SARS-CoV-2 (HOS-P subgroup) and 15 MIS (MIS-P subgroup)), and in 118 matched SARS-CoV-2 seronegative patients (CTL subgroup). FindingsSARS-CoV-2 mean prevalence rate in HOSP children was 11.7% from April 1 to June 1. Neutralizing antibodies were found in 55{middle dot}6% of seropositive children, and their relative frequency increased with time (up to 100 % by mid-May). A majority of MIS children (25/36) were SARS-CoV-2 seropositive, of which all tested (n=15) had neutralizing antibodies. On average, seropositive MIS children had higher N and S1 SARS-CoV-2 titres as compared to HOS children. Patients from HOS-P, MIS-P, and CTL subgroups had a similar prevalence of antibodies against the four seasonal HCoVs (66{middle dot}9 -100%). The level of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was not significantly different in children who had prior seasonal coronavirus infection. InterpretationPrior infection with HCoVs does not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and related MIS in children. Children develop neutralizing antibodies after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Evidence before this studyChildren seem to be less likely affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection and clinical course of COVID-19 is less severe than in adults. As those asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic children are underdiagnosed and their viral loads are comparable to those of adults, they may act as an asymptomatic reservoir for the spread of the virus. One explanation of the difference between the adult and the pediatric infectious profile might be that infection with seasonal human coronaviruses, which is very frequent from a very young age, could lead to cross protective immunity. We searched in PubMed, MedRxiv and BioRxiv for publications from inception to June 15, 2020, using the terms "COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, children, serology, Kawasaki, Corona Virus". Added value of this studySARS-CoV-2 mean prevalence rate was 11.7% from April 1 to June 1 and neutralizing antibodies were found in 55% of the tested seropositive children. Among patients with a Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, Kawasaki-like disease, 70% were SARS-CoV-2 seropositive and had neutralizing antibodies. COVID-19 and MIS attack rates, and anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies titres were not significantly impacted by prior seasonal coronavirus infection. Implications of all the available evidencePrior infection by seasonal coronaviruses does not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children As antibodies against seasonal coronaviruses are very frequent and as these viruses circulate efficiently in human populations every winter, our results question to what extent the concept of herd immunity based on circulating antibodies can be applied to seasonal coronaviruses and possibly SARS-CoV-2.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20068858


It is of paramount importance to evaluate the prevalence of both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and their antibody response profile. Here, we performed a pilot study to assess the levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in samples taken from 491 pre-epidemic individuals, 51 patients from Hopital Bichat (Paris), 209 pauci-symptomatic individuals in the French Oise region and 200 contemporary Oise blood donors. Two in-house ELISA assays, that recognize the full-length nucleoprotein (N) or trimeric Spike (S) ectodomain were implemented. We also developed two novel assays: the S-Flow assay, which is based on the recognition of S at the cell surface by flow-cytometry, and the LIPS assay that recognizes diverse antigens (including S1 or N C-terminal domain) by immunoprecipitation. Overall, the results obtained with the four assays were similar, with differences in sensitivity that can be attributed to the technique and the antigen in use. High antibody titers were associated with neutralisation activity, assessed using infectious SARS-CoV-2 or lentiviral-S pseudotypes. In hospitalized patients, seroconversion and neutralisation occurred on 5-14 days post symptom onset, confirming previous studies. Seropositivity was detected in 29% of pauci-symptomatic individuals within 15 days post-symptoms and 3 % of blood of healthy donors collected in the area of a cluster of COVID cases. Altogether, our assays allow for a broad evaluation of SARS-CoV2 seroprevalence and antibody profiling in different population subsets.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20071134


BackgroundThe Oise department in France has been heavily affected by COVID-19 in early 2020. MethodsBetween 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. FindingsOf 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 = - 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). InterpretationThe 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. FundingInstitut Pasteur, CNRS, Universite de Paris, Sante publique France, Labex IBEID (ANR-10-LABX-62-IBEID), REACTing, EU grant Recover, INCEPTION project (PIA/ANR-16-CONV-0005). Research in contextO_ST_ABSEvidence before the studyC_ST_ABSThe first COVID-19 cases in France were reported on 24 January 2020. Substantial transmission has occurred since then, with the Oise department, north of Paris, one of the heaviest affected areas in the early stages of the epidemic in France. As of 13 April 2020, 98,076 cases had been diagnosed in France, including 5,379 deaths. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with COVID-19 have been widely reported, but this has largely been centred on cases requiring medical care. What remains unclear at this stage is the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 infections may be asymptomatic or present as subclinical, non-specific symptoms. While extensive contact tracing has identified asymptomatic infections using RT-PCR testing, serologic detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is needed to determine the real infection attack rate and the proportion of all infections that are asymptomatic or subclinical. Added value of this studyUsing a combination of serologic assays with high sensitivity and specificity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, we conducted a retrospective closed cohort study. In a high school linked to a cluster of COVID-19 in the Oise department, we showed an overall infection attack rate (IAR) of 40.9% in the high school group, and 10.9% in parents and siblings of the pupils. The proportion of infected individuals who had no symptoms during the study period was 17.0%. Implications of all of the available evidenceThe relatively low IAR in this area where SARS-CoV-2 actively circulated before confinement measures were introduced indicates that establishing herd immunity will take time, and that the lifting of these measures in France will be long and complex.

Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-029090


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which originated in Wuhan, China, in 2019, is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now accepted that the wild fauna, probably bats, constitute the initial reservoir of the virus, but little is known about the role pets can play in the spread of the disease in human communities, knowing the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect some domestic animals. We tested 21 domestic pets (9 cats and 12 dogs) living in close contact with their owners (belonging to a veterinary community of 20 students) in which two students tested positive for COVID-19 and several others (n = 11/18) consecutively showed clinical signs (fever, cough, anosmia, etc.) compatible with COVID-19 infection. Although a few pets presented many clinical signs indicative for a coronavirus infection, no animal tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR and no antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detectable in their blood using an immunoprecipitation assay. These original data can serve a better evaluation of the host range of SARS-CoV-2 in natural environment exposure conditions.