Hema-Quebec, the blood supplier in the Province of Quebec, Canada, collects and tests convalescent plasma used in a clinical trial to determine the clinical efficacy of this product for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. So far, we have collected 1159 plasma units from 282 COVID-19 convalescent donors. The presence of antibodies to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in convalescent donors was established at the first donation. Seropositive donors were asked to donate additional plasma units every six days. Until now, 15 donors have donated at least four times and, in some cases, up to nine times. This allowed us to perform a longitudinal analysis of the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibodies in these repeat donors, with the first donation occurring 33-77 days after symptoms onset and donations up to 71-114 days after symptoms onset thereafter. In all donors, the level of antibodies remained relatively stable up to about 76 days after symptoms onset but then started to decrease more rapidly to reach, in some convalescent donors, a seronegative status within 100-110 days after symptoms onset. The decline in anti-RBD antibodies was not related to the number of donations but strongly correlated with the numbers of days after symptoms onset (r = 0.821). This suggests that de novo secretion of SARS-CoV-2 RBD antibodies by short-lived plasma cells stopped about 2-3 months after disease onset, an observation that has important implications for convalescent plasma collection and seroprevalence studies undertaken several months after the peak of infection.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv