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Clin Chem Lab Med ; 2022 Nov 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2230715


OBJECTIVES: During 2020, the UK's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) established the Moonshot programme to fund various diagnostic approaches for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Mass spectrometry was one of the technologies proposed to increase testing capacity. METHODS: Moonshot funded a multi-phase development programme, bringing together experts from academia, industry and the NHS to develop a state-of-the-art targeted protein assay utilising enrichment and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to capture and detect low levels of tryptic peptides derived from SARS-CoV-2 virus. The assay relies on detection of target peptides, ADETQALPQRK (ADE) and AYNVTQAFGR (AYN), derived from the nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV-2, measurement of which allowed the specific, sensitive, and robust detection of the virus from nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of LC-MS/MS was compared with reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) via a prospective study. RESULTS: Analysis of NP swabs (n=361) with a median RT-qPCR quantification cycle (Cq) of 27 (range 16.7-39.1) demonstrated diagnostic sensitivity of 92.4% (87.4-95.5), specificity of 97.4% (94.0-98.9) and near total concordance with RT-qPCR (Cohen's Kappa 0.90). Excluding Cq>32 samples, sensitivity was 97.9% (94.1-99.3), specificity 97.4% (94.0-98.9) and Cohen's Kappa 0.95. CONCLUSIONS: This unique collaboration between academia, industry and the NHS enabled development, translation, and validation of a SARS-CoV-2 method in NP swabs to be achieved in 5 months. This pilot provides a model and pipeline for future accelerated development and implementation of LC-MS/MS protein/peptide assays into the routine clinical laboratory.

EBioMedicine ; 85: 104293, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2116538


BACKGROUND: The majority of those infected by ancestral Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during the UK first wave (starting March 2020) did not require hospitalisation. Most had a short-lived mild or asymptomatic infection, while others had symptoms that persisted for weeks or months. We hypothesized that the plasma proteome at the time of first infection would reflect differences in the inflammatory response that linked to symptom severity and duration. METHODS: We performed a nested longitudinal case-control study and targeted analysis of the plasma proteome of 156 healthcare workers (HCW) with and without lab confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Targeted proteomic multiple-reaction monitoring analysis of 91 pre-selected proteins was undertaken in uninfected healthcare workers at baseline, and in infected healthcare workers serially, from 1 week prior to 6 weeks after their first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Symptom severity and antibody responses were also tracked. Questionnaires at 6 and 12 months collected data on persistent symptoms. FINDINGS: Within this cohort (median age 39 years, interquartile range 30-47 years), 54 healthcare workers (44% male) had PCR or antibody confirmed infection, with the remaining 102 (38% male) serving as uninfected controls. Following the first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, perturbation of the plasma proteome persisted for up to 6 weeks, tracking symptom severity and antibody responses. Differentially abundant proteins were mostly coordinated around lipid, atherosclerosis and cholesterol metabolism pathways, complement and coagulation cascades, autophagy, and lysosomal function. The proteomic profile at the time of seroconversion associated with persistent symptoms out to 12 months. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD036590. INTERPRETATION: Our findings show that non-severe SARS-CoV-2 infection perturbs the plasma proteome for at least 6 weeks. The plasma proteomic signature at the time of seroconversion has the potential to identify which individuals are more likely to suffer from persistent symptoms related to SARS-CoV-2 infection. FUNDING INFORMATION: The COVIDsortium is supported by funding donated by individuals, charitable Trusts, and corporations including Goldman Sachs, Citadel and Citadel Securities, The Guy Foundation, GW Pharmaceuticals, Kusuma Trust, and Jagclif Charitable Trust, and enabled by Barts Charity with support from University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Charity. This work was additionally supported by the Translational Mass Spectrometry Research Group and the Biomedical Research Center (BRC) at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Case-Control Studies , Proteome , Proteomics
Cell Rep Methods ; 2(9): 100279, 2022 Sep 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1982890


Determining the protection an individual has to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VoCs) is crucial for future immune surveillance, vaccine development, and understanding of the changing immune response. We devised an informative assay to current ELISA-based serology using multiplexed, baited, targeted proteomics for direct detection of multiple proteins in the SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike antibody immunocomplex. Serum from individuals collected after infection or first- and second-dose vaccination demonstrates this approach and shows concordance with existing serology and neutralization. Our assays show altered responses of both immunoglobulins and complement to the Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Delta (B.1.617.1) VoCs and a reduced response to Omicron (B1.1.1529). We were able to identify individuals who had prior infection, and observed that C1q is closely associated with IgG1 (r > 0.82) and may better reflect neutralization to VoCs. Analyzing additional immunoproteins beyond immunoglobulin (Ig) G, provides important information about our understanding of the response to infection and vaccination.