Sex, age, and hospitalization drive antibody responses in a COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor population

Sabra L. Klein, Andrew Pekosz, Han Sol Park, Rebecca L. Ursin, Janna R. Shapiro, Sarah E. Benner, Kirsten Littlefield, Swetha Kumar, Harnish Mukesh Naik, Michael J. Betenbaugh, Ruchee Shrestha, Annie A. Wu, Robert M. Hughes, Imani Burgess, Patricio Caturegli, Oliver Laeyendecker, Thomas C. Quinn, David Sullivan, Shmuel Shoham, Andrew D. ReddEvan M. Bloch, Arturo Casadevall, Aaron A.R. Tobian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Convalescent plasma is currently one of the leading treatments for COVID-19, but there is a paucity of data identifying therapeutic efficacy. A comprehensive analysis of the antibody responses in potential plasma donors and an understanding of the clinical and demographic factors that drive variant antibody responses is needed. Among 126 potential convalescent plasma donors, the humoral immune response was evaluated by a SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralization assay using Vero-E6-TMPRSS2 cells, commercial IgG and IgA ELISA to Spike (S) protein S1 domain (Euroimmun), IgA, IgG and IgM indirect ELISAs to the full-length S or S-receptor binding domain (S-RBD), and an IgG avidity assay. Multiple linear regression and predictive models were utilized to assess the correlations between antibody responses with demographic and clinical characteristics. IgG titers were greater than either IgM or IgA for S1, full length S, and S-RBD in the overall population. Of the 126 plasma samples, 101 (80%) had detectable neutralizing titers. Using neutralization titer as the reference, the sensitivity of the IgG ELISAs ranged between 95-98%, but specificity was only 20-32%. Male sex, older age, and hospitalization with COVID-19 were all consistently associated with increased antibody responses across the serological assays. Neutralizing antibody titers were reduced over time in contrast to overall antibody responses. There was substantial heterogeneity in the antibody response among potential convalescent plasma donors, but sex, age and hospitalization emerged as factors that can be used to identify individuals with a high likelihood of having strong antiviral antibody levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jun 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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