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Estimates of protection levels against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 in Germany before the 2022/2023 winter season: the IMMUNEBRIDGE project

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Item Type:Article
Title:Estimates of protection levels against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 in Germany before the 2022/2023 winter season: the IMMUNEBRIDGE project
Creators Name:Lange, B. and Jaeger, V.K. and Harries, M. and Rücker, V. and Streeck, H. and Blaschke, S. and Petersmann, A. and Toepfner, N. and Nauck, M. and Hassenstein, M.J. and Dreier, M. and von Holt, I. and Budde, A. and Bartz, A. and Ortmann, J. and Kurosinski, M.A. and Berner, R. and Borsche, M. and Brandhorst, G. and Brinkmann, M. and Budde, K. and Deckena, M. and Engels, G. and Fenzlaff, M. and Härtel, C. and Hovardovska, O. and Katalinic, A. and Kehl, K. and Kohls, M. and Krüger, S. and Lieb, W. and Meyer-Schlinkmann, K.M. and Pischon, T. and Rosenkranz, D. and Rübsamen, N. and Rupp, J. and Schäfer, C. and Schattschneider, M. and Schlegtendal, A. and Schlinkert, S. and Schmidbauer, L. and Schulze-Wundling, K. and Störk, S. and Tiemann, C. and Völzke, H. and Winter, T. and Klein, C. and Liese, J. and Brinkmann, F. and Ottensmeyer, P.F. and Reese, J.P. and Heuschmann, P. and Karch, A.
Abstract:PURPOSE: Despite the need to generate valid and reliable estimates of protection levels against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe course of COVID-19 for the German population in summer 2022, there was a lack of systematically collected population-based data allowing for the assessment of the protection level in real time. METHODS: In the IMMUNEBRIDGE project, we harmonised data and biosamples for nine population-/hospital-based studies (total number of participants n = 33,637) to provide estimates for protection levels against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 between June and November 2022. Based on evidence synthesis, we formed a combined endpoint of protection levels based on the number of self-reported infections/vaccinations in combination with nucleocapsid/spike antibody responses ("confirmed exposures"). Four confirmed exposures represented the highest protection level, and no exposure represented the lowest. RESULTS: Most participants were seropositive against the spike antigen; 37% of the participants ≥ 79 years had less than four confirmed exposures (highest level of protection) and 5% less than three. In the subgroup of participants with comorbidities, 46-56% had less than four confirmed exposures. We found major heterogeneity across federal states, with 4-28% of participants having less than three confirmed exposures. CONCLUSION: Using serological analyses, literature synthesis and infection dynamics during the survey period, we observed moderate to high levels of protection against severe COVID-19, whereas the protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection was low across all age groups. We found relevant protection gaps in the oldest age group and amongst individuals with comorbidities, indicating a need for additional protective measures in these groups.
Keywords:SARS-CoV-2, Neutralizing Antibodies, Seroepidemiological Studies, Humoral Immunity
Page Range:139-153
Date:February 2024
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-023-02071-2
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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