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1.
Eur J Immunol ; 2021 Aug 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1589126

ABSTRACT

TRIANNI mice carry an entire set of human immunoglobulin V region gene segments and are a powerful tool to rapidly isolate human monoclonal antibodies. After immunizing these mice with DNA encoding the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and boosting with spike protein, we identified 29 hybridoma antibodies that reacted with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Nine antibodies neutralize SARS-CoV-2 infection at IC50 values in the subnanomolar range. ELISA-binding studies and DNA sequence analyses revealed one cluster of three clonally related neutralizing antibodies that target the receptor-binding domain and compete with the cellular receptor hACE2. A second cluster of six clonally related neutralizing antibodies bind to the N-terminal domain of the spike protein without competing with the binding of hACE2 or cluster 1 antibodies. SARS-CoV-2 mutants selected for resistance to an antibody from one cluster are still neutralized by an antibody from the other cluster. Antibodies from both clusters markedly reduced viral spread in mice transgenic for human ACE2 and protected the animals from SARS-CoV-2-induced weight loss. The two clusters of potent noncompeting SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies provide potential candidates for therapy and prophylaxis of COVID-19. The study further supports transgenic animals with a human immunoglobulin gene repertoire as a powerful platform in pandemic preparedness initiatives.

2.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6871, 2021 11 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537309

ABSTRACT

Several effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are currently in use, but effective boosters are needed to maintain or increase immunity due to waning responses and the emergence of novel variants. Here we report that intranasal vaccinations with adenovirus 5 and 19a vectored vaccines following a systemic plasmid DNA or mRNA priming result in systemic and mucosal immunity in mice. In contrast to two intramuscular applications of an mRNA vaccine, intranasal boosts with adenoviral vectors induce high levels of mucosal IgA and lung-resident memory T cells (TRM); mucosal neutralization of virus variants of concern is also enhanced. The mRNA prime provokes a comprehensive T cell response consisting of circulating and lung TRM after the boost, while the plasmid DNA prime induces mostly mucosal T cells. Concomitantly, the intranasal boost strategies lead to complete protection against a SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice. Our data thus suggest that mucosal booster immunizations after mRNA priming is a promising approach to establish mucosal immunity in addition to systemic responses.

3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 730766, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463473

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has spread to all parts of the world and can cause life-threatening pneumonia and other severe disease manifestations known as COVID-19. This health crisis has resulted in a significant effort to stop the spread of this new coronavirus. However, while propagating itself in the human population, the virus accumulates mutations and generates new variants with increased fitness and the ability to escape the human immune response. Here we describe a color-based barcoded spike flow cytometric assay (BSFA) that is particularly useful to evaluate and directly compare the humoral immune response directed against either wild type (WT) or mutant spike (S) proteins or the receptor-binding domains (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. This assay employs the human B lymphoma cell line Ramos, transfected for stable expression of WT or mutant S proteins or a chimeric RBD-CD8 fusion protein. We find that the alpha and beta mutants are more stably expressed than the WT S protein on the Ramos B cell surface and/or bind with higher affinity to the viral entry receptor ACE2. However, we find a reduce expression of the chimeric RBD-CD8 carrying the point mutation N501Y and E484K characteristic for the alpha and beta variant, respectively. The comparison of the humoral immune response of 12 vaccinated probands with 12 COVID-19 patients shows that after the boost, the S-specific IgG class immune response in the vaccinated group is similar to that of the patient group. However, in comparison to WT the specific IgG serum antibodies bind less well to the alpha variant and only poorly to the beta variant S protein. This is in line with the notion that the beta variant is an immune escape variant of SARS-CoV-2. The IgA class immune response was more variable than the IgG response and higher in the COVID-19 patients than in the vaccinated group. In summary, we think that our BSFA represents a useful tool to evaluate the humoral immunity against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 and to analyze new vaccination protocols against these variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cell Separation/methods , Flow Cytometry/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody Formation , Female , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Immunoglobulin A/metabolism , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccination
4.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(10)2021 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438758

ABSTRACT

mRNA vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), such as BNT162b2 (Comirnaty®), have proven to be highly immunogenic and efficient but also show marked reactogenicity, leading to adverse effects (AEs). Here, we analyzed whether the severity of AEs predicts the antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Healthcare workers without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, who received a prime-boost vaccination with BNT162b2, completed a standardized electronic questionnaire on the duration and severity of AEs. Serum specimens were collected two to four weeks after the boost vaccination and tested with the COVID-19 ELISA IgG (Vircell-IgG), the LIAISON® SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 IgG CLIA (DiaSorin-IgG) and the iFlash-2019-nCoV NAb surrogate neutralization assay (Yhlo-NAb). A penalized linear regression model fitted by machine learning was used to correlate AEs with antibody levels. Eighty subjects were enrolled in the study. Systemic, but not local, AEs occurred more frequently after the boost vaccination. Elevated SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody levels were measured in 92.5% of subjects with Vircell-IgG and in all subjects with DiaSorin-IgG and Yhlo-NAb. Gender, age and BMI showed no association with the antibody levels or with the AEs. The linear regression model identified headache, malaise and nausea as AEs with the greatest variable importance for higher antibody levels (Vircell-IgG and DiaSorin-IgG). However, the model performance for predicting antibody levels from AEs was very low for Vircell-IgG (squared correlation coefficient r2 = 0.04) and DiaSorin-IgG (r2 = 0.06). AEs did not predict the surrogate neutralization (Yhlo-NAb) results. In conclusion, AEs correlate only weakly with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein antibody levels after COVID-19 vaccination with BNT162b2 mRNA.

5.
Eur J Immunol ; 51(10): 2478-2484, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1340251

ABSTRACT

Treatment with convalescent plasma has been shown to be safe in coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19) infection, although efficacy reported in immunocompetent patients varies. Nevertheless, neutralizing antibodies are a key requisite in the fight against viral infections. Patients depleted of antibody-producing B cells, such as those treated with rituximab (anti-CD20) for hematological malignancies, lack a fundamental part of their adaptive immunity. Treatment with convalescent plasma appears to be of general benefit in this particularly vulnerable cohort. We analyzed clinical course and inflammation markers of three B-cell-depleted patients suffering from COVID-19 who were treated with convalescent plasma. In addition, we measured serum antibody levels as well as peripheral blood CD38/HLA-DR-positive T-cells ex vivo and CD137-positive T-cells after in vitro stimulation with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-derived peptides in these patients. We observed that therapy with convalescent plasma was effective in all three patients and analysis of CD137-positive T-cells after stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptides showed an increase in peptide-specific T-cells after application of convalescent plasma. In conclusion, we here demonstrate efficacy of convalescent plasma therapy in three B-cell-depleted patients and present data that suggest that while application of convalescent plasma elevates systemic antibody levels only transiently, it may also boost specific T-cell responses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adolescent , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunization, Passive/methods , Lymphocyte Count , Lymphocyte Depletion , Lymphoma, B-Cell/drug therapy , Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell/drug therapy , Male , Middle Aged , Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma/drug therapy , Rituximab/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Treatment Outcome , Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 9/metabolism
8.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264531

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection fatality ratios (IFR) remain controversially discussed with implications for political measures. The German county of Tirschenreuth suffered a severe SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in spring 2020, with particularly high case fatality ratio (CFR). To estimate seroprevalence, underreported infections, and IFR for the Tirschenreuth population aged ≥14 years in June/July 2020, we conducted a population-based study including home visits for the elderly, and analyzed 4203 participants for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies via three antibody tests. Latent class analysis yielded 8.6% standardized county-wide seroprevalence, a factor of underreported infections of 5.0, and 2.5% overall IFR. Seroprevalence was two-fold higher among medical workers and one third among current smokers with similar proportions of registered infections. While seroprevalence did not show an age-trend, the factor of underreported infections was 12.2 in the young versus 1.7 for ≥85-year-old. Age-specific IFRs were <0.5% below 60 years of age, 1.0% for age 60-69, and 13.2% for age 70+. Senior care homes accounted for 45% of COVID-19-related deaths, reflected by an IFR of 7.5% among individuals aged 70+ and an overall IFR of 1.4% when excluding senior care home residents from our computation. Our data underscore senior care home infections as key determinant of IFR additionally to age, insufficient targeted testing in the young, and the need for further investigations on behavioral or molecular causes of the fewer infections among current smokers.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Population Surveillance/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Latent Class Analysis , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , Seasons , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
9.
Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis ; 40(9): 1983-1997, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263157

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays are used for epidemiological studies and for the assessment of vaccine responses in highly vulnerable patients. So far, data on cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays is limited. Here, we compared four enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs; Vircell SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgA and IgG, Euroimmun SARS-CoV-2 IgA and IgG) for detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in 207 patients with COVID-19, 178 patients with serological evidence of different bacterial infections, 107 patients with confirmed viral respiratory disease, and 80 controls from the pre-COVID-19 era. In COVID-19 patients, the assays showed highest sensitivity in week 3 (Vircell-IgM/A and Euroimmun-IgA: 78.9% each) and after week 7 (Vircell-IgG: 97.9%; Euroimmun-IgG: 92.1%). The antibody indices were higher in patients with fatal disease. In general, IgM/IgA assays had only limited or no benefit over IgG assays. In patients with non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infections, IgG assays were more specific than IgM/IgA assays, and bacterial infections were associated with more false-positive results than viral infections. The specificities in bacterial and viral infections were 68.0 and 81.3% (Vircell-IgM/IgA), 84.8 and 96.3% (Euroimmun-IgA), 97.8 and 86.0% (Vircell-IgG), and 97.8 and 99.1% (Euroimmun-IgG), respectively. Sera from patients positive for antibodies against Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, and Legionella pneumophila yielded particularly high rates of unspecific false-positive results in the IgM/IgA assays, which was revealed by applying a highly specific flow-cytometric assay using HEK 293 T cells expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Positive results obtained with anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgA ELISAs require careful interpretation, especially if there is evidence for prior bacterial respiratory infections.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Bacterial Infections/diagnosis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Antibodies, Bacterial/blood , Bacterial Infections/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Respiratory Tract Infections/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
10.
Front Immunol ; 12: 627568, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231335

ABSTRACT

The beta-coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 induces severe disease (COVID-19) mainly in elderly persons with risk factors, whereas the majority of patients experience a mild course of infection. As the circulating common cold coronaviruses OC43 and HKU1 share some homologous sequences with SARS-CoV-2, beta-coronavirus cross-reactive T-cell responses could influence the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and the course of COVID-19. To investigate the role of beta-coronavirus cross-reactive T-cells, we analyzed the T-cell response against a 15 amino acid long peptide (SCoV-DP15: DLSPRWYFYYLGTGP) from the SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein sequence with a high homology to the corresponding sequence (QLLPRWYFYYLGTGP) in OC43 and HKU1. SCoV-DP15-specific T-cells were detected in 4 out of 23 (17.4%) SARS-CoV-2-seronegative healthy donors. As HIV-1 infection is a potential risk factor for COVID-19, we also studied a cohort of HIV-1-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy. 44 out of these 116 HIV-1-infected patients (37.9%) showed a specific recognition of the SCoV-DP15 peptide or of shorter peptides within SCoV-DP15 by CD4+ T-cells and/or by CD8+ T-cells. We could define several new cross-reactive HLA-I-restricted epitopes in the SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein such as SPRWYFYYL (HLA-B*07, HLA-B*35), DLSPRWYFYY (HLA-A*02), LSPRWYFYY (HLA-A*29), WYFYYLGTGP and WYFYYLGT. Epitope specific CD8+ T-cell lines recognized corresponding epitopes within OC43 and HKU1 to a similar degree or even at lower peptide concentrations suggesting that they were induced by infection with OC43 or HKU1. Our results confirm that SARS-CoV-2-seronegative subjects can target SARS-CoV-2 not only by beta-coronavirus cross-reactive CD4+ T-cells but also by cross-reactive CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells (CTL). The delineation of cross-reactive T-cell epitopes contributes to an efficient epitope-specific immunomonitoring of SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells. Further prospective studies are needed to prove a protective role of cross-reactive T-cells and their restricting HLA alleles for control of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The frequent observation of SARS-CoV-2-reactive T-cells in HIV-1-infected subjects could be a reason that treated HIV-1 infection does not seem to be a strong risk factor for the development of severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Common Cold/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Nucleoproteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Adult , Aged , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Common Cold/genetics , Common Cold/pathology , Cross Reactions , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nucleoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/pathology
11.
Eur J Immunol ; 51(6): 1436-1448, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1156872

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a life-threatening disease leading to bilateral pneumonia and respiratory failure. The underlying reasons why a smaller percentage of patients present with severe pulmonary symptoms whereas the majority is only mildly affected are to date not well understood. Comparing the immunological phenotype in healthy donors and patients with mild versus severe COVID-19 shows that in COVID-19 patients, NK-/B-cell activation and proliferation are enhanced independent of severity. As an important precondition for effective antibody responses, T-follicular helper cells and antibody secreting cells are increased both in patients with mild and severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. Beyond this, T cells in COVID-19 patients exhibit a stronger activation profile with differentiation toward effector cell phenotypes. Importantly, when looking at the rates of pulmonary complications in COVID-19 patients, the chemokine receptor CCR4 is higher expressed by both CD4 and CD8 T cells of patients with severe COVID-19. This raises the hypothesis that CCR4 upregulation on T cells in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 promotes stronger T-cell attraction to the lungs leading to increased immune activation with presumably higher pulmonary toxicity. Our study contributes significantly to the understanding of the immunological changes during COVID-19, as new therapeutic agents, preferentially targeting the immune system, are highly warranted.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Lung/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation , Receptors, CCR4/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Up-Regulation/immunology , Adult , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index
13.
J Virol ; 95(9)2021 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1093846

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infects cells through interaction of its spike protein (SARS2-S) with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and activation by proteases, in particular transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2). Viruses can also spread through fusion of infected with uninfected cells. We compared the requirements of ACE2 expression, proteolytic activation, and sensitivity to inhibitors for SARS2-S-mediated and SARS-CoV-S (SARS1-S)-mediated cell-cell fusion. SARS2-S-driven fusion was moderately increased by TMPRSS2 and strongly by ACE2, while SARS1-S-driven fusion was strongly increased by TMPRSS2 and less so by ACE2 expression. In contrast to that of SARS1-S, SARS2-S-mediated cell-cell fusion was efficiently activated by batimastat-sensitive metalloproteases. Mutation of the S1/S2 proteolytic cleavage site reduced effector cell-target cell fusion when ACE2 or TMPRSS2 was limiting and rendered SARS2-S-driven cell-cell fusion more dependent on TMPRSS2. When both ACE2 and TMPRSS2 were abundant, initial target cell-effector cell fusion was unaltered compared to that of wild-type (wt) SARS2-S, but syncytia remained smaller. Mutation of the S2 cleavage (S2') site specifically abrogated activation by TMPRSS2 for both cell-cell fusion and SARS2-S-driven pseudoparticle entry but still allowed for activation by metalloproteases for cell-cell fusion and by cathepsins for particle entry. Finally, we found that the TMPRSS2 inhibitor bromhexine, unlike the inhibitor camostat, was unable to reduce TMPRSS2-activated cell-cell fusion by SARS1-S and SARS2-S. Paradoxically, bromhexine enhanced cell-cell fusion in the presence of TMPRSS2, while its metabolite ambroxol exhibited inhibitory activity under some conditions. On Calu-3 lung cells, ambroxol weakly inhibited SARS2-S-driven lentiviral pseudoparticle entry, and both substances exhibited a dose-dependent trend toward weak inhibition of authentic SARS-CoV-2.IMPORTANCE Cell-cell fusion allows viruses to infect neighboring cells without the need to produce free virus and contributes to tissue damage by creating virus-infected syncytia. Our results demonstrate that the S2' cleavage site is essential for activation by TMPRSS2 and unravel important differences between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, among those, greater dependence of SARS-CoV-2 on ACE2 expression and activation by metalloproteases for cell-cell fusion. Bromhexine, reportedly an inhibitor of TMPRSS2, is currently being tested in clinical trials against coronavirus disease 2019. Our results indicate that bromhexine enhances fusion under some conditions. We therefore caution against the use of bromhexine in high dosages until its effects on SARS-CoV-2 spike activation are better understood. The related compound ambroxol, which similarly to bromhexine is clinically used as an expectorant, did not exhibit activating effects on cell-cell fusion. Both compounds exhibited weak inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 infection at high concentrations, which might be clinically attainable for ambroxol.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , SARS Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Ambroxol/pharmacology , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Bromhexine/pharmacology , COVID-19/genetics , Cell Line , Humans , Mutation, Missense , Proteolysis/drug effects , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
14.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1112, 2021 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091491

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a worldwide health threat. In a prospective multicentric study, we identify IL-3 as an independent prognostic marker for the outcome during SARS-CoV-2 infections. Specifically, low plasma IL-3 levels is associated with increased severity, viral load, and mortality during SARS-CoV-2 infections. Patients with severe COVID-19 exhibit also reduced circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and low plasma IFNα and IFNλ levels when compared to non-severe COVID-19 patients. In a mouse model of pulmonary HSV-1 infection, treatment with recombinant IL-3 reduces viral load and mortality. Mechanistically, IL-3 increases innate antiviral immunity by promoting the recruitment of circulating pDCs into the airways by stimulating CXCL12 secretion from pulmonary CD123+ epithelial cells, both, in mice and in COVID-19 negative patients exhibiting pulmonary diseases. This study identifies IL-3 as a predictive disease marker for SARS-CoV-2 infections and as a potential therapeutic target for pulmunory viral infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Interleukin-3/blood , Animals , COVID-19/mortality , Chemokine CXCL12/immunology , Dendritic Cells/cytology , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Germany , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferons/blood , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Prospective Studies , Severity of Illness Index , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , Viral Load
15.
Transfusion ; 61(2): 368-374, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894804

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The frequency of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNAemia in blood donors is uncertain. Thus, assays for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in blood, validated on commercially available polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems, are required to allow a good comparability of data. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The cobas SARS-CoV-2 dual-target reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) assay, licensed for respiratory swab SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing, was validated for detection of viral RNA in blood. For the validation panel, SARS-CoV-2-positive plasma samples were prepared by spiking SARS-CoV-2-positive respiratory specimens in negative human plasma. The 95% limit of detection (LOD95) was determined by probit analysis. For clinical validation, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) convalescent plasma (CCP) donors and patients with COVID-19 with a severe disease course treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) were included. RESULTS: The validation of the SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay for blood demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity and intra- and inter-assay precision and efficiency. The LOD95 for SARS-CoV-2 RNA was 5.0 genome copies/mL (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.3-12 copies/mL) for target 1 and 4.3 genome copies/mL (95% CI, 2.9-10 copies/mL) for target 2. In a cohort of 39 CCP donors with 66 CCP donations no SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma was detected. Screening of 25 blood samples of 19 ICU patients with COVID-19 showed six positive results for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in at least one target of the assay. CONCLUSION: The SARS-CoV-2 RNA assay, only licensed for respiratory swabs, performed on a PCR system for high-throughput testing, showed a good assay performance for blood testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Blood Donors , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
16.
Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis ; 40(4): 751-759, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-880323

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has emerged as a previously unknown zoonotic coronavirus that spread worldwide causing a serious pandemic. While reliable nucleic acid-based diagnostic assays were rapidly available, only a limited number of validated serological assays were available in the early phase of the pandemic. Here, we evaluated a novel flow cytometric approach to assess spike-specific antibody responses.HEK 293T cells expressing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in its natural confirmation on the surface were used to detect specific IgG and IgM antibody responses in patient sera by flow cytometry. A soluble angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 (ACE-2) variant was developed as external standard to quantify spike-specific antibody responses on different assay platforms. Analyses of 201 pre-COVID-19 sera proved a high assay specificity in comparison to commercially available CLIA and ELISA systems, while also revealing the highest sensitivity in specimens from PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. The external standard allowed robust quantification of antibody responses among different assay platforms. In conclusion, our newly established flow cytometric assay allows sensitive and quantitative detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, which can be easily adopted in different laboratories and does not rely on external supply of assay kits. The flow cytometric assay also provides a blueprint for rapid development of serological tests to other emerging viral infections.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Flow Cytometry/methods , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Reference Standards , Reproducibility of Results , Sensitivity and Specificity
17.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 3774, 2020 07 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-672188

ABSTRACT

Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) of the joints, gut and skin are treated with inhibitors of inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines are involved in the pathogenesis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Investigating anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in IMIDs we observe a reduced incidence of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion in IMID patients treated with cytokine inhibitors compared to patients receiving no such inhibitors and two healthy control populations, despite similar social exposure. Hence, cytokine inhibitors seem to at least partially protect from SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cytokines/antagonists & inhibitors , Immune System Diseases/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Seroconversion , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunosuppressive Agents/administration & dosage , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Prevalence , Risk
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