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An Evolutionary Guide to New Immunotherapies

April 29 - One of the best ways to learn how something works is to understand how it’s built. How it came to be. That’s true not only if you play a guitar or repair motorcycle engines, but also if you study the biological systems that make life possible. Evolutionary studies, comparing the...

Tracking the Evolution of a ‘Variant of Concern’ in Brazil

April 27 - By last October, about three out of every four residents of Manaus, Brazil already had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 [1]. And yet, despite hopes of achieving “herd immunity” in this city of 2.2 million in the Amazon region, the virus came roaring back in late 2020 and early 2021 to cause a second wave of illness and death [2]. How is this possible?

Hot off the Press 

«HOT OFF THE PRESS» 
RECENT PUBLICATIONS IDENTIFIED
BY TTS EDUCATION COMMITTEE ON COVID-19

Selected Publications by TTS Education Committee. This week's selection made by Dr. Enver Akalin

Vaccine Breakthrough Infections with SARS-CoV-2 Variants

Ezgi Hacisuleyman et al.
New Engl J Med, April 21, 2021, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2105000
In a cohort of 417 persons who had received the second dose of BNT162b2 (Pfizer–BioNTech) or mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccine at least 2 weeks previously, the authors identified 2 women with vaccine breakthrough infection. Despite evidence of vaccine efficacy in both women, symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 developed, and they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase-chain-reaction testing. Viral sequencing revealed variants of likely clinical importance, including E484K in 1 woman and three mutations (T95I, del142–144, and D614G) in both. These observations indicate a potential risk of illness after successful vaccination and subsequent infection with variant virus, and they provide support for continued efforts to prevent and diagnose infection and to characterize variants in vaccinated persons.

Asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections elicit polyfunctional antibodies.

Jérémy Dufloo et al.
Cell Reports Medicine (2021) DOI: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100275
This study analyzed antibody functions in 52 asymptomatic infected individuals, 119 mild and 21 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Anti-Spike IgG, IgA and IgM levels with the S-Flow assay and map IgG-targeted epitopes by Luminex were measured. Neutralization, complement deposition and Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC) were evaluated and showed that COVID-19 sera mediate complement deposition and kill infected cells by ADCC. Sera from asymptomatic individuals neutralize the virus, activate ADCC and trigger complement deposition. Antibody levels and functions are lower in asymptomatic individuals than in symptomatic cases. Antibody functions are correlated, regardless of disease severity. Overall, asymptomatic SARSCoV-2 infection elicits polyfunctional antibodies neutralizing the virus and targeting infected cells.

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