Evidence for SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein in the Urine of COVID-19 patients
Anasuya Chattopadhyay Pal,
Joy E Chiu,
Christina A Harden,
Isabel M. Ott,
Anne E Watkins,
Chantal B.F. Vogels,
Anne L Wyllie,
Shelli F. Farhadian,
Nathan D. Grubaugh,
Charles S. Dela Cruz,
Albert I. Ko,
Amalia Berna Perez,
Elikplim H. Akaho,
Dennis G Moledina,
Audrey R John,
Choukri Ben Mamoun
Posted 31 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.27.21250637
Posted 31 Jan 2021
SARS-CoV-2 infection has so far affected over 42 million people worldwide, causing over 1.1 million deaths. With the large majority of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals being asymptomatic, major concerns have been raised about possible long-term consequences of the infection. We developed an antigen capture assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in urine samples from COVID-19 patients whose diagnosis was confirmed by PCR from nasopharyngeal swabs (NP-PCR+). The study used a collection of 233 urine samples from 132 participants from Yale New Haven Hospital and the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia obtained during the pandemic (106 NP-PCR+ and 26 NP-PCR-) as well as a collection of 20 urine samples from 20 individuals collected before the pandemic. Our analysis identified 23 out of 91 (25%) NP-PCR+ adult participants with SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 protein in urine (Ur-S+). Interestingly, although all NP-PCR+ children were Ur-S-, 1 NP-PCR- child was found to be positive for spike protein in urine. Of the 23 Ur-S+ adults, only 1 individual showed detectable viral RNA in urine. Our analysis further showed that 24% and 21% of NP-PCR+ adults have high levels of albumin and cystatin C in urine, respectively. Among individuals with albuminuria (>0.3 mg/mg of creatinine) statistical correlation could be found between albumin and spike protein in urine. Together, our data showed that 1 of 4 of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals develop renal abnormalities such as albuminuria. Awareness about the long-term impact of these findings is warranted.
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