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3.
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-292059

ABSTRACT

Background: Breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated HCWs are considered a marker of waning immunity. Serum antibodies represent the most visible and measurable outcome of vaccine-induced B-cell memory. When antibodies decline, memory B cells are expected to persist and perform their function, thus preventing clinical disease. We investigated whether BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine induces durable and in vivo functional B-cell memory against SARS-CoV-2 3, 6 and 9 months after the second dose. Methods: We assessed the duration of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-induced immunity by measuring specific antibodies and memory B cells 3, 6 and 9 months after vaccination. In fully vaccinated HCWs with breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections, we evaluated the humoral and mucosal response of vaccine-induced memory B cells. Findings: Whereas specific serum antibodies decline, anti-Spike memory B cells continue to increase until 9 months after the last vaccine dose. HCWs with breakthrough infections had no signs of waning immunity on the day of the first positive swab. In 3-4 days, memory B cells responded to SARS-CoV-2 infection by producing high levels of specific antibodies in the serum. In the saliva, anti-Spike IgA also rapidly increased in response to the infection. Antibodies to the viral nucleoprotein were produced with the slow kinetics typical of the response to a novel antigen. Interpretation: SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies physiologically decline months after vaccination. By contrast, memory B cells persist and increase over time. Parenteral administered vaccines do not generate mucosal immunity and serum antibodies reach mucosal sites in small amounts by transudation. In HCWs with SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections, memory B cells react by rapidly differentiating into antibody-producing cells and generating IgA for protection of mucosal sites.

4.
Front Immunol ; 12: 727850, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477821

ABSTRACT

Mass SARS-Cov-2 vaccination campaign represents the only strategy to defeat the global pandemic we are facing. Immunocompromised patients represent a vulnerable population at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 and thus should be prioritized in the vaccination programs and in the study of the vaccine efficacy. Nevertheless, most data on efficacy and safety of the available vaccines derive from trials conducted on healthy individuals; hence, studies on immunogenicity of SARS-CoV2 vaccines in such populations are deeply needed. Here, we perform an observational longitudinal study analyzing the humoral and cellular response following the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in a cohort of patients affected by inborn errors of immunity (IEI) compared to healthy controls (HC). We show that both IEI and HC groups experienced a significant increase in anti-SARS-CoV-2 Abs 1 week after the second scheduled dose as well as an overall statistically significant expansion of the Ag-specific CD4+CD40L+ T cells in both HC and IEI. Five IEI patients did not develop any specific CD4+CD40L+ T cellular response, with one of these patients unable to also mount any humoral response. These data raise immunologic concerns about using Ab response as a sole metric of protective immunity following vaccination for SARS-CoV-2. Taken together, these findings suggest that evaluation of vaccine-induced immunity in this subpopulation should also include quantification of Ag-specific T cells.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Immunocompromised Host/immunology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Vaccination , Young Adult
5.
J Clin Immunol ; 41(8): 1709-1722, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474048

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Data on immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients with Primary Antibody Deficiencies (PAD) are limited to infected patients and to heterogeneous cohorts after immunization. METHODS: Forty-one patients with Common Variable Immune Deficiencies (CVID), six patients with X-linked Agammaglobulinemia (XLA), and 28 healthy age-matched controls (HD) were analyzed for anti-Spike and anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) antibody production, generation of Spike-specific memory B-cells, and Spike-specific T-cells before vaccination and one week after the second dose of BNT162b2 vaccine. RESULTS: The vaccine induced Spike-specific IgG and IgA antibody responses in all HD and in 20% of SARS-CoV-2 naive CVID patients. Anti-Spike IgG were detectable before vaccination in 4 out 7 CVID previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and were boosted in six out of seven patients by the subsequent immunization raising higher levels than patients naïve to infection. While HD generated Spike-specific memory B-cells, and RBD-specific B-cells, CVID generated Spike-specific atypical B-cells, while RBD-specific B-cells were undetectable in all patients, indicating the incapability to generate this new specificity. Specific T-cell responses were evident in all HD and defective in 30% of CVID. All but one patient with XLA responded by specific T-cell only. CONCLUSION: In PAD patients, early atypical immune responses after BNT162b2 immunization occurred, possibly by extra-follicular or incomplete germinal center reactions. If these responses to vaccination might result in a partial protection from infection or reinfection is now unknown. Our data suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection more effectively primes the immune response than the immunization alone, possibly suggesting the need for a third vaccine dose for patients not previously infected.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunologic Memory , Lymphocytes/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
7.
Cells ; 10(10)2021 09 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438527

ABSTRACT

Specific memory B cells and antibodies are a reliable read-out of vaccine efficacy. We analysed these biomarkers after one and two doses of BNT162b2 vaccine. The second dose significantly increases the level of highly specific memory B cells and antibodies. Two months after the second dose, specific antibody levels decline, but highly specific memory B cells continue to increase, thus predicting a sustained protection from COVID-19. We show that although mucosal IgA is not induced by the vaccination, memory B cells migrate in response to inflammation and secrete IgA at mucosal sites. We show that the first vaccine dose may lead to an insufficient number of highly specific memory B cells and low concentration of serum antibodies, thus leaving vaccinees without the immune robustness needed to ensure viral elimination and herd immunity. We also clarify that the reduction of serum antibodies does not diminish the force and duration of the immune protection induced by vaccination. The vaccine does not induce sterilizing immunity. Infection after vaccination may be caused by the lack of local preventive immunity because of the absence of mucosal IgA.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antigens, Viral/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cryopreservation , Female , Health Personnel , Healthy Volunteers , Hospitals, Pediatric , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Lactation , Male , Middle Aged , Mucous Membrane/immunology , Patient Safety , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
8.
Front Hum Neurosci ; 15: 666468, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354876

ABSTRACT

A case of recurrent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with neurovestibular symptoms was reported. In March 2020, a physician working in an Italian pediatric hospital had flu-like symptoms with anosmia and dysgeusia, and following a reverse transcription PCR (RT/PCR) test with a nasopharyngeal swab tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. After home quarantine, 21 days from the beginning of the symptoms, the patient tested negative in two subsequent swabs and was declared healed and readmitted to work. Serological testing showed a low level of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody title and absence of immunoglobulin M (IgM). However, 2 weeks later, before resuming work, the patient complained of acute vestibular syndrome, and the RT/PCR test with mucosal swab turned positive. On the basis of the literature examined and reviewed for recurrence cases and vestibular symptoms during COVID-19, to our knowledge this case is the first case of recurrence with vestibular impairment as a neurological symptom, and we defined it as probably a viral reactivation. The PCR retest positivity cannot differentiate re-infectivity, relapse, and dead-viral RNA detection. Serological antibody testing and viral genome sequencing could be always performed in recurrence cases.

9.
Front Immunol ; 12: 690534, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348488

ABSTRACT

High quality medical assistance and preventive strategies, including pursuing a healthy lifestyle, result in a progressively growing percentage of older people. The population and workforce is aging in all countries of the world. It is widely recognized that older individuals show an increased susceptibility to infections and a reduced response to vaccination suggesting that the aged immune system is less able to react and consequently protect the organism. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is dramatically showing us that the organism reacts to novel pathogens in an age-dependent manner. The decline of the immune system observed in aging remains unclear. We aimed to understand the role of B cells. We analyzed peripheral blood from children (4-18 years); young people (23-60 years) and elderly people (65-91 years) by flow cytometry. We also measured antibody secretion by ELISA following a T-independent stimulation. Here we show that the elderly have a significant reduction of CD27dull memory B cells, a population that bridges innate and adaptive immune functions. In older people, memory B cells are mostly high specialized antigen-selected CD27bright. Moreover, after in vitro stimulation with CpG, B cells from older individuals produced significantly fewer IgM and IgA antibodies compared to younger individuals. Aging is a complex process characterized by a functional decline in multiple physiological systems. The immune system of older people is well equipped to react to often encountered antigens but has a low ability to respond to new pathogens.


Subject(s)
Aging/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Immunologic Memory , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Male , Middle Aged
10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(14)2021 Jul 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1308351

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 global pandemic still represents a major threat with detrimental health consequences. Analyzing the psychological outcomes, COVID-19 could be interpreted as a collective traumatic event that can generate symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Considering this, the purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to investigate the relationship between intrusive thoughts and fear related to the COVID-19 pandemic and between intrusive thoughts and mental health; second, to test the mediating role of hyperarousal and avoidance in these two relationships. In order to reach these aims, the present study investigated these relationships and tested a mediation model in two cross-sectional studies in Italy. Altogether, 627 individuals and 495 workers completed an online survey for study 1 and study 2, respectively. Mediation analyses were performed via the SPSS macro PROCESS; the significance of total, direct, and indirect effect was tested via bootstrapping. The results showed that within the PTSD framework, hyperarousal compared with avoidance mediated the relationship between intrusion and the analyzed outcomes. In conclusion, the present study provided empirical evidence for the influence of hyperarousal on individual consequences such as fear of COVID-19 and mental health. Research, as well as theoretical and practical implications, are discussed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic , Cognition , Cross-Sectional Studies , Fear , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Mental Health , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology
12.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(8)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194652

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic is putting a severe strain on all healthcare systems. Several occupational risk factors are challenging healthcare workers (HCWs) who are at high risk of mental health outcomes, including Burnout Syndrome (BOS). BOS is a psychological syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and low personal accomplishment. An umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses concerning BOS and coronavirus (SARS/MERS/SARS-CoV-2) outbreaks was carried out on PubMed Central/Medline, Cochrane Library, PROSPERO, and Epistemonikos databases. Data relating to COVID-19 is insufficient, but in previous SARS and MERS outbreaks about one-third of HCWs manifested BOS. This prevalence rate is similar to the figure recorded in some categories of HCWs exposed to chronic occupational stress and poor work organization during non-epidemic periods. Inadequate organization and worsening working conditions during an epidemic appear to be the most likely causes of BOS. Preventive care and workplace health promotion programs could be useful for protecting healthcare workers during pandemics, as well as during regular health activities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Burnout, Psychological , Disease Outbreaks , Health Personnel , Humans , Systematic Reviews as Topic
13.
Front Immunol ; 11: 610300, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1005638

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus, not encountered before by humans. The wide spectrum of clinical expression of SARS-CoV-2 illness suggests that individual immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 play a crucial role in determining the clinical course after first infection. Immunological studies have focused on patients with moderate to severe disease, demonstrating excessive inflammation in tissues and organ damage. In order to understand the basis of the protective immune response in COVID-19, we performed a longitudinal follow-up, flow-cytometric and serological analysis of innate and adaptive immunity in 64 adults with a spectrum of clinical presentations: 28 healthy SARS-CoV-2-negative contacts of COVID-19 cases; 20 asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected cases; eight patients with Mild COVID-19 disease and eight cases of Severe COVID-19 disease. Our data show that high frequency of NK cells and early and transient increase of specific IgA, IgM and, to a lower extent, IgG are associated with asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. By contrast, monocyte expansion and high and persistent levels of IgA and IgG, produced relatively late in the course of the infection, characterize severe disease. Modest increase of monocytes and different kinetics of antibodies are detected in mild COVID-19. The importance of innate NK cells and the short-lived antibody response of asymptomatic individuals and patients with mild disease suggest that only severe COVID-19 may result in protective memory established by the adaptive immune response.


Subject(s)
Adaptive Immunity , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , Male , Severity of Illness Index
14.
Hum Genomics ; 14(1): 29, 2020 09 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-751136

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that are common in humans and many animal species. Animal coronaviruses rarely infect humans with the exceptions of the Middle East respiratory syndrome ( MERS-CoV ), the severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus (SARS-CoV), and now SARS-CoV-2, which is the cause of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Several studies suggested that genetic variants in the ACE2 gene may influence the host susceptibility or resistance to SARS-CoV-2 infection according to the functional role of ACE2 in human pathophysiology. However, many of these studies have been conducted in silico based on epidemiological and population data. We therefore investigated the occurrence of ACE2 variants in a cohort of 131 Italian unrelated individuals clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 and in an Italian control population, to evaluate a possible allelic association with COVID-19, by direct DNA analysis. METHODS: As a pilot study, we analyzed, by whole-exome sequencing, genetic variants of ACE2 gene in 131 DNA samples of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Tor Vergata University Hospital and at Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome. We used a large control group consisting of 1000 individuals (500 males and 500 females). RESULTS: We identified three different germline variants: one intronic c.439+4G>A and two missense c.1888G>C p.(Asp630His) and c.2158A>G p.(Asn720Asp) in a total of 131 patients with a similar frequency in male and female. Thus far, only the c.1888G>C p.(Asp630His) variant shows a statistically different frequency compared to the ethnically matched populations. Therefore, further studies are needed in larger cohorts, since it was found only in one heterozygous COVID-19 patient. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that there is no strong evidence, in our cohort, of consistent association of ACE2 variants with COVID-19 severity. We might speculate that rare susceptibility/resistant alleles could be located in the non-coding regions of the ACE2 gene, known to play a role in regulation of the gene activity.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Child , Computer Simulation , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Genetic Predisposition to Disease/genetics , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Whole Exome Sequencing , Young Adult
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