Evidence for sustained mucosal and systemic antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 antigens in COVID-19 patients
Kento T Abe,
Alainna J Jamal,
Jenny H. Wang,
Olga L Rojas,
Yeo Myong Bang,
Yue Feng Yun,
Lina M Marin,
Jeffrey L Wrana,
Scott D. Gray-Owen,
Steven J. Drews,
Walter L Siqueira,
James M Rini,
Allison J McGeer,
Jennifer L Gommerman,
Posted 04 Aug 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.01.20166553
Posted 04 Aug 2020
While the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 has been extensively studied in blood, relatively little is known about the mucosal immune response and its relationship to systemic antibody levels. Since SARS-CoV-2 initially replicates in the upper airway, the antibody response in the oral cavity is likely an important parameter that influences the course of infection, but how it correlates to the antibody response in serum is not known. Here, we profile by enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) IgG, IgA and IgM responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (full length trimer) and its receptor binding domain (RBD) in serum (n=496) and saliva (n=90) of acute and convalescent patients with laboratory-diagnosed COVID-19 ranging from 3-115 days post-symptom onset (PSO), compared to negative controls. Anti-CoV-2 antibody responses were readily detected in serum and saliva, with peak IgG levels attained by 16-30 days PSO. Whereas anti-CoV-2 IgA and IgM antibodies rapidly decayed, IgG antibodies remained relatively stable up to 105 days PSO in both biofluids. In a surrogate neutralization ELISA (snELISA), neutralization activity peaks by 31-45 days PSO and slowly declines, though a clear drop is detected at the last blood draw (105-115 days PSO). Lastly, IgG, IgM and to a lesser extent IgA responses to spike and RBD in the serum positively correlated with matched saliva samples. This study confirms that systemic and mucosal humoral IgG antibodies are maintained in the majority of COVID-19 patients for at least 3 months PSO. Based on their correlation with each other, IgG responses in saliva may serve as a surrogate measure of systemic immunity.
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