Neutralizing antibody responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection in end-stage kidney disease and protection against reinfection.
journal contributionposted on 21.07.2021, 13:11 by L Muir, A Jaffer, C Rees-Spear, V Gopalan, FY Chang, R Fernando, G Vaitkute, C Roustan, A Rosa, C Earl, GK Rajakaruna, P Cherepanov, A Salama, LE McCoy, R Motallebzadeh
Patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) represent a vulnerable group with multiple risk factors that are associated with poor outcomes after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Despite established susceptibility to infectious complications and the importance of humoral immunity in protection against SARS-CoV-2, few studies have investigated the humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 within this population. Here, we evaluate the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in patients awaiting renal transplantation and determine whether seroconverted patients with ESKD have durable and functional neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2. Serum samples were obtained from 164 patients with ESKD by August 2020. Humoral immune responses were evaluated by SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 subunit and nucleoprotein semiquantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotype neutralization assay. All patients with ESKD with reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-confirmed infection (n = 17) except for 1 individual seroconverted against SARS-CoV-2. Overall seroprevalence (anti-S1 and/or anti-N IgG) was 36% and was higher in patients on hemodialysis (44.2%). A total of 35.6% of individuals who seroconverted were asymptomatic. Seroconversion in the absence of a neutralizing antibody (nAb) titer was observed in 12 patients, all of whom were asymptomatic. Repeat measurements at a median of 93 days from baseline sampling revealed that most individuals retained detectable responses although a significant drop in S1, N and nAb titers was observed. Patients with ESKD, including those who develop asymptomatic disease, routinely seroconvert and produce detectable nAb titers against SARS-CoV-2. Although IgG levels wane over time, the neutralizing antibodies remain detectable in most patients, suggesting some level of protection is likely maintained, particularly in those who originally develop stronger responses.