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Donor Anti-Spike Immunity is Related to Recipient Recovery and Can Predict the Efficacy of Convalescent Plasma Units.

By Sanath Kumar Janaka, William Hartman, Huihui Mou, Michael Farzan, Susan L. Stramer, Erin Goodhue, John Weiss, David H Evans, Joseph P Connor

Posted 01 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.25.21252463

BackgroundThe novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV2 that causes COVID-19 has resulted in the death of more than 2.31 million people within the last year and yet no cure exists. Whereas passive immunization with COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) provides a safe and viable option, selection of optimal units for therapy and lack of clear therapeutic benefit from transfusion remain as barriers to the use of CCP. Study design and methodsTo identify plasma that is expected to benefit recipients, we measured anti-SARS-CoV2 antibody levels using clinically available serological assays and correlated with the neutralizing activity of CCP from donors. Neutralizing titer of plasma samples was measured by assaying infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein pseudotyped retrovirus particles in the presence of dilutions of plasma samples. We also used this assay to identify evidence of passive transfusion of neutralizing activity in CCP recipients. ResultsViral neutralization and anti-spike protein antibodies in 109 samples from 87 plasma donors were highly varied but modestly correlated with each other. Recipients who died of COVID-19 were found to have been transfused with units with lower anti-spike antibody levels and neutralizing activity. Passive transfer of neutralization activity was documented in 62% of antibody naive plasma recipients. ConclusionsSince viral neutralization is the goal of CCP transfusion, our observations not only support the use of anti-spike SARS-CoV2 serology tests to identify beneficial CCP units, but also support the therapeutic value of convalescent plasma with high titers of anti-spike antibodies.

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