Correlation of SARS-CoV-2 Viral Neutralizing Antibody Titers with Anti-Spike Antibodies and ACE-2 Inhibition among Vaccinated Individuals.

26 Oct 2022
Grunau B, Prusinkiewicz M, Asamoah-Boaheng M, Golding L, Lavoie PM, Petric M, Levett PN, Haig S, Barakauskas V, Karim ME, Jassem AN, Drews SJ, Sediqi S, Goldfarb DM

SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike antibody concentrations and angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) inhibition have been used as surrogates to live viral neutralizing antibody titers; however, validity among vaccinated individuals is unclear. We tested the correlation of these measures among vaccinated participants, and examined subgroups based on duration since vaccination and vaccine dosing intervals. We analyzed 120 samples from two-dose mRNA vaccinees without previous COVID-19. We calculated Spearman correlation coefficients between wild-type viral neutralizing antibody titers and: anti-spike (total and IgG), anti-receptor-binding-domain (RBD), and anti-N-terminal-domain (NTD) antibodies; and ACE-2 binding by RBD. We performed three secondary analyses, dichotomizing samples by the first vaccination-to-blood collection interval, second vaccination-to-blood collection interval, and by the vaccine dosing interval (all groups divided by the median), and compared correlation coefficients (Fisher's Z test). Of 120 participants, 63 (53%) were women, 91 (76%) and 29 (24%) received BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines, respectively. Overall, live viral neutralization was correlated with anti-spike total antibody (correlation coefficient = 0.80), anti-spike IgG (0.63), anti-RBD IgG (0.62), anti-NTD IgG (0.64), and RBD ACE2 binding (0.65). Samples with long (>158 days) first vaccination-to-blood collection and long (>71 days) second vaccination-to-blood collection intervals demonstrated higher correlation coefficients, compared with short groups. When comparing cases divided by short (≤39 days) versus long vaccine dosing intervals, only correlation with RBD-ACE-2 binding inhibition was higher in the long group. Among COVID-negative mRNA vaccinees, anti-spike antibody and ACE-2 inhibition concentrations are correlated with live viral neutralizing antibody titers. Correlation was stronger among samples collected at later durations from vaccination. Live viral neutralizing antibody titers are an accepted measure of immunity; however, testing procedures are labor-intensive. COVID-19 antibody and angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) levels have been used as surrogates to live viral neutralizing antibody titers; however, validity among vaccinated individuals is unclear. Using samples from 120 two-dose mRNA vaccinees without previous COVID-19, we found that live viral neutralization was correlated with COVID-19 antibody and ACE2 binding levels. When grouping samples by the time interval between vaccination and sample blood collection, samples collected over 158 days after the first vaccine and over 71 days from the second vaccine demonstrated stronger correlation between live viral neutralization titers and both antibody and ACE2 levels, in comparison to those collected earlier.