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Temporal development and neutralising potential of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in hospitalised COVID-19 patients: An observational cohort study

Murrell, Isa, Forde, Donall, Zelek, Wioleta, Tyson, Linda, Chichester, Lisa, Palmer, Nicki, Jones, Rachel, Morgan, B. Paul and Moore, Catherine 2021. Temporal development and neutralising potential of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in hospitalised COVID-19 patients: An observational cohort study. PLoS ONE 16 (1) , e0245382. 10.1371/journal.pone.0245382

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Antibody responses are important in the control of viral respiratory infection in the human host. What is not clear for SARS-CoV-2 is how rapidly this response occurs, or when antibodies with protective capability evolve. Hence, defining the events of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion and the time frame for the development of antibodies with protective potential may help to explain the different clinical presentations of COVID-19. Furthermore, accurate descriptions of seroconversion are needed to inform the best use of serological assays for diagnostic testing and serosurveillance studies. Here, we describe the humoral responses in a cohort of hospitalised COVID-19 patients (n = 19) shortly following the onset of symptoms. Commercial and ‘in-house’ serological assays were used to measure IgG antibodies against different SARS-CoV-2 structural antigens–Spike (S) S1 sub-unit and Nucleocapsid protein (NP)–and to assess the potential for virus neutralisation mediated specifically by inhibition of binding between the viral attachment protein (S protein) and cognate receptor (ACE-2). Antibody response kinetics varied amongst the cohort, with patients seroconverting within 1 week, between 1–2 weeks, or after 2 weeks, following symptom onset. Anti-NP IgG responses were generally detected earlier, but reached maximum levels slower, than anti-S1 IgG responses. The earliest IgG antibodies produced by all patients included those that recognised the S protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) and were capable of inhibiting binding to ACE-2. These data revealed events and patterns of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion that may be important predictors of the outcome of infection and guide the delivery of clinical services in the COVID-19 response.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 29 December 2020
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2021 12:30

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