Breadth and function of antibody response to acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans
Kuan-Ying A. Huang,
Tiong Kit Tan,
Rodney S Daniels,
John W McCauley,
Alain R. Townsend
Posted 28 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.28.267526
Posted 28 Aug 2020
Serological and plasmablast responses and plasmablast-derived IgG monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) have been analysed in three COVID-19 patients with different clinical severities. Potent humoral responses were detected within 3 weeks of onset of illness in all patients and the serological titre was elicited soon after or concomitantly with peripheral plasmablast response. An average of 13.7% and 13.0% of plasmablast-derived MAbs were reactive with virus spike glycoprotein or nucleocapsid, respectively. A subset of anti-spike (10 of 32) and over half of anti-nucleocapsid (19 of 35) antibodies cross-reacted with other betacoronaviruses tested and harboured extensive somatic mutations, indicative of an expansion of memory B cells upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Fourteen of 32 anti-spike MAbs, including five anti-RBD, three anti-non-RBD S1 and six anti-S2, neutralised wild-type SARS-CoV-2 in independent assays. Anti-RBD MAbs were further grouped into four cross-inhibiting clusters, of which six antibodies from three separate clusters blocked the binding of RBD to ACE2 and five were neutralising. All ACE2-blocking anti-RBD antibodies were isolated from two patients with prolonged fever, which is compatible with substantial ACE2-blocking response in their sera. At last, the identification of non-competing pairs of neutralising antibodies would offer potential templates for the development of prophylactic and therapeutic agents against SARS-CoV-2. ### Competing Interest Statement K-Y.A.H. has filed a provisional patent application on monoclonal antibodies. Other authors declare no competing interest.
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