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Tocilizumab-treated convalescent COVID-19 patients retain the cross-neutralization potential

Full title: Tocilizumab-treated convalescent COVID-19 patients retain the cross-neutralization potential against SARS-CoV-2 variants


Chauvin C, Levillayer L, Roumier M, Nielly H, Roth C, Karnam A, Bonam SR, Bourgarit A, Dubost C, Bousquet A, Le Burel S, Mestiri R, Sene D, Galland J, Vasse M, Groh M, Le Marchand M, Vassord-Dang C, Gautier JF, Pham-Thi N, Verny C, Pitard B, Planchais C, Mouquet H, Paul R, Simon-Loriere E, Bayry J, Gilardin L, Sakuntabhai A.

Although tocilizumab treatment in severe and critical coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients has proven its efficacy at the clinical level, there is little evidence supporting the effect of short-term use of interleukin-6 receptor blocking therapy on the B cell sub-populations and the cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 variants in convalescent COVID-19 patients. We performed immunological profiling of 69 tocilizumab-treated and non-treated convalescent COVID-19 patients in total. We observed that SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG1 titers depended on disease severity but not on tocilizumab treatment. The plasma of both treated and non-treated patients infected with the ancestral variant exhibit strong neutralizing activity against the ancestral virus and the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants of SARS-CoV-2, whereas the Gamma and Omicron viruses were less sensitive to seroneutralization. Overall, we observed that, despite the clinical benefits of short-term tocilizumab therapy in modifying the cytokine storm associated with COVID-19 infections, there were no modifications in the robustness of B cell and IgG responses to Spike antigens.

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