Kinetics and ability of binding antibody and surrogate virus neutralization tests to predict neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant following BNT162b2 booster administration

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To assess the long-term humoral immunity induced by booster administration, as well as the ability of binding antibody and surrogate virus neutralization tests (sVNT) to predict neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant.

METHODS: A total of 269 sera samples were analyzed from 64 healthcare workers who had received a homologous booster dose of BNT162b2. Neutralizing antibodies assessed by sVNT and anti-RBD IgG measured with the sCOVG assay (Siemens Healthineers ®) were analyzed at five timepoints; before and up to 6 months following the booster. Antibody titers were correlated with neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron BA.1 variant obtained by pseudovirus neutralization test (pVNT) as a reference method.

RESULTS: While Wild-type sVNT percentage of inhibition (POI) remained above 98.6% throughout the follow-up period after booster administration, anti-RBD IgG and NAbs assessed by Omicron BA.1 pVNT showed respectively a 3.4-fold and 13.3-fold decrease after 6 months compared to the peak reached at day 14. NAbs assessed by Omicron sVNT followed a steady decline until reaching a POI of 53.4%. Anti-RBD IgG and Omicron sVNT assays were strongly correlated (r=0.90) and performed similarly to predict the presence of neutralizing antibodies with Omicron pVNT (area under the ROC: 0.82 for both assays). In addition, new adapted cut-off values of anti-RBD IgG (>1,276 BAU/mL) and Omicron sVNT (POI>46.6%) were found to be better predictors of neutralizing activity.

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed a significant drop in humoral immunity 6 months after booster administration. Anti-RBD IgG and Omicron sVNT assays were highly correlated and could predict neutralizing activity with moderate performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1875-1885
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Volume61
Issue number10
Early online date21 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • binding antibodies
  • BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine
  • neutralizing antibodies
  • Omicron
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • surrogate virus neutralization tests

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