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Persistent SARS-CoV-2 PCR Positivity Despite Anti-viral Treatment in Immunodeficient Patients

Chan, Michele; Linn, Me Me Nay; O'Hagan, Thomas; Guerra-Assunção, José Afonso; Lackenby, Angie; Workman, Sarita; Dacre, Anna; ... Lowe, David M; + view all (2023) Persistent SARS-CoV-2 PCR Positivity Despite Anti-viral Treatment in Immunodeficient Patients. Journal of Clinical Immunology , 43 pp. 1083-1092. 10.1007/s10875-023-01504-9. Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: COVID-19 infection in immunodeficient individuals can result in chronically poor health, persistent or relapsing SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity, and long-term infectious potential. While clinical trials have demonstrated promising outcomes using anti-SARS-CoV-2 medicines in immunocompetent hosts, their ability to achieve sustained viral clearance in immunodeficient patients remains unknown. We therefore aimed to study long-term virological outcomes in patients treated at our centre. METHODS: We followed up immunocompromised inpatients treated with casirivimab-imdevimab (Ronapreve) between September and December 2021, and immunocompromised patients who received sotrovimab, molnupiravir, nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid), or no treatment from December 2021 to March 2022. Nasopharyngeal swab and sputum samples were obtained either in hospital or in the community until sustained viral clearance, defined as 3 consecutive negative PCR samples, was achieved. Positive samples were sequenced and analysed for mutations of interest. RESULTS: We observed sustained viral clearance in 71 of 103 patients, none of whom died. Of the 32/103 patients where sustained clearance was not confirmed, 6 died (between 2 and 34 days from treatment). Notably, we observed 25 cases of sputum positivity despite negative nasopharyngeal swab samples, as well as recurrence of SARS-CoV-2 positivity following a negative sample in 12 cases. Patients were then divided into those who cleared within 28 days and those with PCR positivity beyond 28 days. We noted lower B cell counts in the group with persistent PCR positivity (mean (SD) 0.06 (0.10) ×109/L vs 0.22 (0.28) ×109/L, p = 0.015) as well as lower IgA (median (IQR) 0.00 (0.00-0.15) g/L vs 0.40 (0.00-0.95) g/L, p = 0.001) and IgM (median (IQR) 0.05 (0.00-0.28) g/L vs 0.35 (0.10-1.10) g/L, p = 0.005). No differences were seen in CD4+ or CD8+ T cell counts. Antiviral treatment did not impact risk of persistent PCR positivity. CONCLUSION: Persistent SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity is common among immunodeficient individuals, especially those with antibody deficiencies, regardless of anti-viral treatment. Peripheral B cell count and serum IgA and IgM levels are predictors of viral persistence.

Type: Article
Title: Persistent SARS-CoV-2 PCR Positivity Despite Anti-viral Treatment in Immunodeficient Patients
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10875-023-01504-9
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10875-023-01504-9
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, antivirals, immune deficiency, persistence
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10169700
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