Seroconversion appeared early after COVID-19 onset, and convalescent sera therapy benefit some critical patients. However, neutralizing antibody (nAb) in convalescents is largely unknown. We found that 97.01% (65/67) of COVID-19 convalescents maintained IgG antibodies with high binding and avidity to SARS-CoV-2 spike subunits S1 and S2, and 95.52% (64/67) had neutralization activity against SARS-CoV-2 pesudovirus, one month after discharge (median ID50, 2.75; IQR, 2.34-3.08). Some sera exhibited cross-neutralization against SARS-CoV (76.12%), MERS-CoV (17.91%), or both (10.45%). Interestingly, individuals recovered from severe disease (severe group) had nAbs with binding and neutralization titers higher than non-severe group. Severe group appeared a rapid increase of lymphocytes and a high proportion of circulating CXCR3+ Tfh cells. Interestingly, the later were spike-specific and positively correlated with SARS-CoV-2 nAb titers. All subjects had no autoimmunity. Our findings provide novel insights into nAb responses in COVID-19 convalescents and facilitate treatment and vaccine development for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
medrxiv Subject Collection: Infectious Diseases