Louisa Hempel*, Jakob Molnar, Sebastian Robert, Julia Veloso, Zeljka Trepotec, Sofie Englisch, Philip Weinzierl, Cordula Schick, Valeria Milani, Katrin Schweneker, Bastian Fleischmann, Josef Scheiber, Beate Gandorfer, Axel Kleespies, Wolfgang Kaminski, Dirk Hempel, Kristina Riedmann, Armin Piehler
SARS-CoV-2 antibody development and immunity will be crucial for the further course of the pandemic. Until now, it has been assumed that patients who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop antibodies as it is the case with other coronaviruses, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. In the present study, we analyzed the antibody development of 77 oncology patients 26 days after positive RT-qPCR testing for SARS-CoV2. RT-qPCR and anti-SARS-CoV2-antibody methods from BGI (MGIEasy Magnetic Beads Virus DNA/RNA Extraction Kit) and Roche (Elecsys Anti-SARS- CoV-2 immunoassay) were used, respectively, according to the manufacturers’ specifications.
Surprisingly, antibody development was detected in only 6 of 77 individuals with a confirmed history of COVID-19. Despite of multiple testing, the remaining patients did not show measurable antibody concentrations in subsequent tests. These results undermine the previous hypothesis that SARS-CoV2 infections are regularly associated with antibody development and cast doubt on the provided immunity to COVID-19. Understanding the adaptive and humoral response to SARS-CoV2 will play a key-roll in vaccine development and gaining further knowledge on the pathogenesis.