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Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705787


In light of an increasing number of vaccinated and convalescent individuals, there is a major need for the development of robust methods for the quantification of neutralizing antibodies; although, a defined correlate of protection is still missing. Sera from hospitalized COVID-19 patients suffering or not suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) were comparatively analyzed by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) and pseudotype-based neutralization assays to quantify their neutralizing capacity. The two neutralization assays showed comparable data. In case of the non-ARDS sera, there was a distinct correlation between the data from the neutralization assays on the one hand, and enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA), as well as biophysical analyses, on the other hand. As such, surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based assays for quantification of binding antibodies or analysis of the stability of the antigen-antibody interaction and inhibition of syncytium formation, determined by cell fusion assays, were performed. In the case of ARDS sera, which are characterized by a significantly higher fraction of RBD-binding IgA antibodies, there is a clear correlation between the neutralization assays and the ELISA data. In contrast to this, a less clear correlation between the biophysical analyses on the one hand and ELISAs and neutralization assays on the other hand was observed, which might be explained by the heterogeneity of the antibodies. To conclude, for less complex immune sera-as in cases of non-ARDS sera-combinations of titer quantification by ELISA with inhibition of syncytium formation, SPR-based analysis of antibody binding, determination of the stability of the antigen-antibody complex, and competition of the RBD-ACE2 binding represent alternatives to the classic PRNT for analysis of the neutralizing potential of SARS-CoV-2-specific sera, without the requirement for a BSL3 facility.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Convalescence , Immune Sera/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests
BJPsych Open ; 8(1): e20, 2021 Dec 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581952


In the article Analysis of the impact of antidepressants and other medications on COVID-19 infection risk in a chronic psychiatric in-patient cohort, Catherine L. Clelland and colleagues for the first time suggest a protective effect of antidepressants against infection with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) itself. During the observation period of the first wave of the pandemic in New York, more than 50% of patients in the psychiatric hospital studied were infected. From retrospective analysis of the hospital medical records, the authors found a significantly lower risk for infection in patients with antidepressant medication compared to treatment with other psychiatric drugs. The findings of a reduced infection incidence in patients who were already on antidepressant drug therapy underlines a preventive efficacy of antidepressants against COVID-19. Taken together with the prior obtained data of efficacy against deterioration of COVID-19 disease, this study adds a piece of evidence to the positive benefit-risk of antidepressants in repurposing condition against COVID-19.

Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(12)2021 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542839


Many of the approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are based on a stabilized variant of the spike protein. This raises the question of whether the immune response against the stabilized spike is identical to the immune response that is elicited by the native spike in the case of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using a peptide array-based approach, we analysed the binding of antibodies from Comirnaty-elicited, convalescent, and control sera to the peptides covering the spike protein. A total of 37 linear epitopes were identified. A total of 26 of these epitopes were almost exclusively recognized by the convalescent sera. Mapping these epitopes to the spike structures revealed that most of these 26 epitopes are masked in the pre-fusion structure. In particular, in the conserved central helix, three epitopes that are only exposed in the post-fusion conformation were identified. This indicates a higher spike-specific antibody diversity in convalescent sera. These differences could be relevant for the breadth of spike-specific immune response.