Elevated SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Distinguish Severe Disease in Early COVID-19 Infection
Natalie S Haddad,
Doan C Nguyen,
Merin E. Kuruvilla,
Kevin S. Cashman,
Richard P Ramonell,
Ankur Singh Saini,
John D. Roback,
James B O'Keefe,
Henry M. Wu,
An-Kwok Ian Wong,
Alexandra W. Dretler,
Andrea N. Lane,
John L. Daiss,
Frances Eun-Hyung Lee
Posted 06 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.04.410589
Posted 06 Dec 2020
Background: SARS-CoV-2 has caused over 36,000,000 cases and 1,000,000 deaths globally.Comprehensive assessment of the multifaceted anti-viral antibody response is critical for diagnosis, differentiation of severe disease, and characterization of long-term immunity. Initial observations suggest that severe disease is associated with higher antibody levels and greater B cell/plasmablast responses. A multi-antigen immunoassay to define the complex serological landscape and clinical associations is essential. Methods: We developed a multiplex immunoassay and evaluated serum/plasma from adults with RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections during acute illness (N=52) and convalescence (N=69); and pre-pandemic (N=106) and post-pandemic (N=137) healthy adults. We measured IgA, IgG, and/or IgM against SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N), Spike domain 1 (S1), receptor binding domain (S1-RBD) and S1-N-terminal domain (S1-NTD). Results: To diagnose infection, the combined [IgA+IgG+IgM] or IgG for N, S1, and S1-RBD yielded AUC values [≥]0.90 by ROC curves. From days 6-30 post-symptom onset, the levels of antigen-specific IgG, IgA or [IgA+IgG+IgM] were higher in patients with severe/critical compared to mild/moderate infections. Consistent with excessive concentrations of antibodies, a strong prozone effect was observed in sera from severe/critical patients. Notably, mild/moderate patients displayed a slower rise and lower peak in anti-N and anti-S1 IgG levels compared to severe/critical patients, but anti-RBD IgG and neutralization responses reached similar levels at 2-4 months. Conclusion: This SARS-CoV-2 multiplex immunoassay measures the magnitude, complexity and kinetics of the antibody response against multiple viral antigens. The IgG and combined-isotype SARS-CoV-2 multiplex assay is highly diagnostic of acute and convalescent disease and may prognosticate severity early in illness.
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