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Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21260852


Transplant recipients, which receive therapeutic immunosuppression to prevent graft rejection, are characterized by high COVID-19-related mortality and defective response to vaccines. Having observed that previous infection by SARS-CoV-2 but not the standard "2 doses" scheme of vaccination, provided complete protection against COVID-19 to transplant recipients, we undertook this translational study to compare the cellular and humoral immune responses of these 2 groups of patients. Neutralizing anti-Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) IgG were identified as the critical immune effectors associated with protection. Generation of anti-RBD IgG was dependent upon spike-specific T follicular helper (Tfh) CD4+ T cells, which acted as limiting checkpoint. Tfh generation was impeded by high dose mycophenolate mofetil in non-responders to vaccine but not in infected patients, suggesting that increasing immunogenicity of vaccine could improve response rate to mRNA vaccine. This theory was validated in two independent prospective cohorts, in which administration of a 3rd dose of vaccine resulted in the generation of anti-RBD IgG in half of non-responders to 2 doses. One sentence summaryThe generation of neutralizing IgG, which protects kidney transplant recipients from COVID-19, requires T follicular helper cells.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21252741


Data concerning the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response after mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) are currently lacking. Here, we sought to examine this issue by analyzing the serological response observed in 241 KTRs after a first vaccine injection. Our results indicate that KTRs have a weak anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response, ultimately resulting in a low seroconversion rate (26/241, 10.8%). This phenomenon likely stems from a high immunosuppression burden in this clinical population.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20132076


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread widely, causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and significant mortality. However, data on viral loads and antibody kinetics in immunocompromised populations are lacking. We aimed to determine nasopharyngeal and plasma viral loads via RT-PCR and SARS-CoV-2 serology via ELISA and study their association with severe forms of COVID-19 and death in kidney transplant recipients. In this study we examined hospitalized kidney transplant recipients with non-severe (n = 21) and severe (n =19) COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal and plasma viral load and serological response were evaluated based on outcomes and disease severity. Ten recipients (25%) displayed persistent viral shedding 30 days after symptom onset. The SARS-CoV-2 viral load of the upper respiratory tract was not associated with severe COVID-19, whereas the plasma viral load was associated with COVID-19 severity (p=0.0087) and mortality (p=0.024). All patients harbored antibodies the second week after symptom onset that persisted for two months. We conclude that plasma viral load is associated with COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, whereas nasopharyngeal viral load is not. SARS-CoV-2 shedding is prolonged in kidney transplant recipients and the humoral response to SARS-CoV-2 does not show significant impairment in this series of transplant recipients.

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