Stable neutralizing antibody levels 6 months after mild and severe COVID-19 episodes

Stable neutralizing antibody levels 6 months after mild and severe COVID-19 episodes

Data de publicació online: 30/01/2021 Data de publicació en paper: 30 Gener 2021 Revista: Med

Abstract:

Background
Understanding mid-term kinetics of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is the cornerstone for public health control of the pandemic and vaccine development. However, current evidence is rather based on limited measurements, losing sight of the temporal pattern of these changes.
 
Methods
We conducted a longitudinal analysis on a prospective cohort of COVID-19 patients followed up for >6 months. Neutralizing activity was evaluated using HIV reporter pseudoviruses expressing SARS-CoV-2 S protein. IgG antibody titer was evaluated by ELISA against the S2 subunit, the receptor binding domain (RBD), and the nucleoprotein (NP). Statistical analyses were carried out using mixed-effects models.
 
Findings
We found that individuals with mild or asymptomatic infection experienced an insignificant decay in neutralizing activity, which persisted 6 months after symptom onset or diagnosis. Hospitalized individuals showed higher neutralizing titers, which decreased following a 2-phase pattern, with an initial rapid decline that significantly slowed after day 80. Despite this initial decay, neutralizing activity at 6 months remained higher among hospitalized individuals compared to mild symptomatic. The slow decline in neutralizing activity at mid-term contrasted with the steep slope of anti-RBD, S2, or NP antibody titers, all of them showing a constant decline over the follow-up period.
 
Conclusions
Our results reinforce the hypothesis that the quality of the neutralizing immune response against SARS-CoV-2 evolves over the post-convalescent stage.

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