The SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent for COVID-19 pneumonia. Little is known about the kinetics, tissue distribution, cross-reactivity and neutralization antibody response in COVID-19 patients. Two groups of RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 patients were enrolled in this study, including 12 severe patients in ICUs who needed mechanical ventilation and 11 mild patients in isolation wards. Serial clinical samples were collected for laboratory detection. Results showed that most of the severe patients had viral shedding in a variety of tissues for 20~40 days post onset of disease (8/12, 66.7%); while the majority of mild patients had viral shedding restricted to the respiratory tract and had no detectable virus RNA after 10 days post-onset (9/11, 81.8%). Mild patients showed significantly lower IgM response compared with that of the severe group. IgG responses were detected in most patients in both severe and mild groups at 9 days post onset and remained high level throughout the study. Antibodies cross-reactive to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 were detected in COVID-19 patients but not in MERS patients. High-levels of neutralizing antibodies were induced after about 10 days post onset in both severe and mild patients which were higher in the severe group. SARS-CoV-2 pseudotype neutralization test and focus reduction neutralization test with authentic virus showed consistent results. Sera from COVID-19 patients, but not convalescent SARS and MERS patients inhibited SARS-CoV-2 entry. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S and N IgG level exhibited moderate correlation with neutralization titers in patients’ plasma. This study improves our understanding of immune response in human after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Yanqun Wang, Lu Zhang, Ling Sang, Feng Ye, Shicong Ruan, Bei Zhong, Tie Song, Abeer N. Alshukairi, Rongchang Chen, Zhaoyong Zhang, Mian Gan, Airu Zhu, Yongbo Huang, Ling Luo, Chris KP Mok, Manal M. Al Gethamy, Haitao Tan, Zhengtu Li, Xiaofang Huang, Fang Li, Jing Sun, Yanjun Zhang, Liyan Wen, Yuming Li, Zhao Chen, Zhen Zhuang, Jianfen Zhuo, Chunke Chen, Lijun Kuang, Junxiang Wang, Huibin Lv, Yongliang Jiang, Min Li, Yimin Lin, Ying Deng, Lan Tang, Jieling Liang, Jicheng Huang, Stanley Perlman, Nanshan Zhong, Jingxian Zhao, J.S. Malik Peiris, Yimin Li, Jincun Zhao