Within-host evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in an immunosuppressed COVID-19 patient: a source of immune escape variants

MedRxiv : the Preprint Server for Health Sciences
S. WeigangGeorg Kochs

Abstract

The recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants showing increased transmissibility and immune escape is a matter of global concern. Their origin remains unclear, but intra-host virus evolution during persistent infections could be a contributing factor. Here, we studied the long-term SARS-CoV-2 infection in an immunosuppressed kidney transplant recipient. Frequent respiratory specimens were tested for variant viral genomes by RT-qPCR, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and virus isolation. Late in infection, several virus variants emerged which escaped neutralization by COVID-19 convalescent and vaccine-induced antisera and had acquired genome mutations similar to those found in variants of concern first identified in UK, South Africa, and Brazil. Importantly, infection of susceptible hACE2-transgenic mice with one of the patient escape variants elicited protective immunity against re-infection with either the parental virus, the escape variant or the South African variant of concern, demonstrating broad immune control. Upon lowering immunosuppressive treatment, the patient generated spike-specific neutralizing antibodies and resolved the infection. Our results indicate that immunocompromised patients are an alarming source of poten...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Related Feeds

BioRxiv & MedRxiv Preprints

BioRxiv and MedRxiv are the preprint servers for biology and health sciences respectively, operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Here are the latest preprint articles (which are not peer-reviewed) from BioRxiv and MedRxiv.