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Arthritis Rheumatol ; 74(1): 33-37, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527417


OBJECTIVE: B cell depletion is an established therapeutic principle in a wide range of autoimmune diseases. However, B cells are also critical for inducing protective immunity after infection and vaccination. We undertook this study to assess humoral and cellular immune responses after infection with or vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with B cell depletion and controls who are B cell-competent. METHODS: Antibody responses (tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and T cell responses (tested using interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay) against the SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 and nucleocapsid proteins were assessed in a limited number of previously infected (n = 6) and vaccinated (n = 8) autoimmune disease patients with B cell depletion, as well as previously infected (n = 30) and vaccinated (n = 30) healthy controls. RESULTS: As expected, B cell and T cell responses to the nucleocapsid protein were observed only after infection, while respective responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 were found after both infection and vaccination. A SARS-CoV-2 antibody response was observed in all vaccinated controls (30 of 30 [100%]) but in none of the vaccinated patients with B cell depletion (0 of 8). In contrast, after SARS-CoV-2 infection, both the patients with B cell depletion (spike S1, 5 of 6 [83%]; nucleocapsid, 3 of 6 [50%]) and healthy controls (spike S1, 28 of 30 [93%]; nucleocapsid, 28 of 30 [93%]) developed antibodies. T cell responses against the spike S1 and nucleocapsid proteins were found in both infected and vaccinated patients with B cell depletion and in the controls. CONCLUSION: These data show that B cell depletion completely blocks humoral but not T cell SARS-CoV-2 vaccination response. Furthermore, limited humoral immune responses are found after SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with B cell depletion.

Autoimmune Diseases/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Lymphocyte Depletion/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Autoimmune Diseases/drug therapy , Autoimmune Diseases/virology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology
Eur J Immunol ; 51(11): 2665-2676, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482126


To monitor infection by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and successful vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the kinetics of neutralizing or blocking anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers need to be assessed. Here, we report the development of a quick and inexpensive surrogate SARS-CoV-2 blocking assay (SUBA) using immobilized recombinant human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) and human cells expressing the native form of surface SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Spike protein-expressing cells bound to hACE2 in the absence or presence of blocking antibodies were quantified by measuring the optical density of cell-associated crystal violet in a spectrophotometer. The advantages are that SUBA is a fast and inexpensive assay, which does not require biosafety level 2- or 3-approved laboratories. Most importantly, SUBA detects blocking antibodies against the native trimeric cell-bound SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and can be rapidly adjusted to quickly pre-screen already approved therapeutic antibodies or sera from vaccinated individuals for their ACE2 blocking activities against any emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Antibodies, Blocking/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Flow Cytometry/methods , Antibodies, Blocking/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology