Similar Antibody Responses Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Individuals Living Without and with Human Immunodeficiency Virus on Antiretroviral Therapy during the First South African Infection Wave
Snyman J., Hwa SH., Krause R., Muema D., Reddy T., Ganga Y., Karim F., Leslie A., Sigal A., Ndung'U T., Archary M., Dullabh KJ., Goulder P., Harling G., Harrichandparsad R., Herbst K., Jeena P., Khoza T., Klein N., Kloverpris H., Madansein R., Marakalala M., Mazibuko M., Moshabela M., Mthabela N., Naidoo K., Ndhlovu Z., Nyamande K., Padayatchi N., Patel V., Smit T., Steyn A., Wong E.
Background: There is limited understanding of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pathogenesis in African populations with a high burden of infectious disease comorbidities such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The kinetics, magnitude, and duration of virus-specific antibodies and B-cell responses in people living with HIV (PLWH) in sub-Saharan Africa have not been fully characterized. Methods: We longitudinally followed SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and characterized SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) M, IgG, and IgA weekly for 1 month and at 3 months post-diagnosis. Thirty of 72 (41.7%) were PLWH, 25/30 (83%) of whom were on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with full HIV suppression. Plasma neutralization was determined using a live virus neutralization assay, and antibody-secreting cell population frequencies were determined by flow cytometry. Results: Similar seroconversion rates, time to peak antibody titer, peak magnitude, and durability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM, IgG, and IgA were observed in people not living with HIV and PLWH with complete HIV suppression on ART. In addition, similar potency in a live virus neutralization assay was observed in both groups. Loss of IgA was significantly associated with age (P =. 023) and a previous diagnosis of tuberculosis (P=.018). Conclusions: Similar antibody responses and neutralization potency in people not living with HIV and PLWH on stable ART in an African setting suggest that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) natural infections may confer comparable antibody immunity in these groups. This provides hope that COVID-19 vaccines will be effective in PLWH on stable ART.