The protective effect of neutralizing antibodies in SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals is not yet well defined. To address this issue, we have analyzed the kinetics of neutralizing antibody responses and their association with disease severity. Between March and May 2020, the prospective KING study enrolled 72 COVID-19+ participants grouped according to disease severity. SARS-CoV-2 infection was diagnosed by serological and virological tests. Plasma neutralizing responses were assessed against replicative virus and pseudoviral particles. Multiple regression and non-parametric tests were used to analyze dependence of parameters. The magnitude of neutralizing titers significantly increased with disease severity. Hospitalized individuals developed higher titers compared to mild-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, which together showed titers below the detection limit in 50% of cases. Longitudinal analysis confirmed the strong differences in neutralizing titers between non-hospitalized and hospitalized participants and showed rapid kinetics of appearance of neutralizing antibodies (50% and 80% of maximal activity reached after 11 and 17 days after symptoms onset, respectively) in hospitalized patients. No significant impact of age, gender or treatment on the neutralizing titers was observed in this limited cohort. These data identify a clear association of humoral immunity with disease severity and point to immune mechanisms other than antibodies as relevant players in COVID-19 protection.
SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody structures inform therapeutic strategies
Christopher O. Barnes, Claudia A. Jette, Morgan E. Abernathy, Kim-Marie A. Dam, Shannon R. Esswein, Harry B. Gristick, Andrey G. Malyutin, Naima G. Sharaf, Kathryn E. Huey-Tubman, Yu E. Lee, Davide F. Robbiani, Michel C. Nussenzweig, Anthony P. West Jr & Pamela J. Bjorkman
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic presents an urgent health crisis. Human neutralizing antibodies that target the host ACE2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein1,2,3,4,5 show promise therapeutically and are being evaluated clinically6,7,8. To identify the structural correlates of SARS-CoV-2 neutralization, we solved eight new structures of distinct COVID-19 human neutralizing antibodies5 in complex with the SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer or RBD. Structural comparisons allowed us to classify the antibodies into categories: (1) Neutralizing antibodies encoded by the VH3-53 gene segment with short CDRH3 loops that block ACE2 and bind only to ‘up’ RBDs; (2) ACE2-blocking neutralizing antibodies that bind both up and ‘down’ RBDs and can contact adjacent RBDs; (3) neutralizing antibodies that bind outside the ACE2 site and recognize both up and down RBDs; and (4) previously described antibodies that do not block ACE2 and bind only up RBDs9. Class 2 contained four neutralizing antibodies with epitopes that bridged RBDs, including a VH3-53 antibody that used a long CDRH3 with a hydrophobic tip to bridge between adjacent down RBDs, thereby locking the spike into a closed conformation. Epitope and paratope mapping revealed few interactions with host-derived N-glycans and minor contributions of antibody somatic hypermutations to epitope contacts.
Neutralizing antibody titres in SARS-CoV-2 infections
Eric H. Y. Lau, Owen T. Y. Tsang, David S. C. Hui, Mike Y. W. Kwan, Wai-hung Chan, Susan S. Chiu, Ronald L. W. Ko, Kin H. Chan, Samuel M. S. Cheng, Ranawaka A. P. M. Perera, Benjamin J. Cowling, Leo L. M. Poon & Malik Peiris
Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 63 (2021)
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic poses the greatest global public health challenge in a century. Neutralizing antibody is a correlate of protection and data on kinetics of virus neutralizing antibody responses are needed. We tested 293 sera from an observational cohort of 195 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections collected from 0 to 209 days after onset of symptoms. Of 115 sera collected ≥61 days after onset of illness tested using plaque reduction neutralization (PRNT) assays, 99.1% remained seropositive for both 90% (PRNT90) and 50% (PRNT50) neutralization endpoints. We estimate that it takes at least 372, 416 and 133 days for PRNT50 titres to drop to the detection limit of a titre of 1:10 for severe, mild and asymptomatic patients, respectively. At day 90 after onset of symptoms (or initial RT-PCR detection in asymptomatic infections), it took 69, 87 and 31 days for PRNT50 antibody titres to decrease by half (T1/2) in severe, mild and asymptomatic infections, respectively. Patients with severe disease had higher peak PRNT90 and PRNT50 antibody titres than patients with mild or asymptomatic infections. Age did not appear to compromise antibody responses, even after accounting for severity. We conclude that SARS-CoV-2 infection elicits robust neutralizing antibody titres in most individuals.