Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection may be associated with worse clinical outcomes in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PWH). We report anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 in Durban, South Africa, during the second SARS-CoV-2 infection wave dominated by the Beta (B.1.351) variant.
Methods: Thirty-four participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were followed up with weekly blood sampling to examine antibody levels and neutralization potency against SARS-CoV-2 variants. Participants included 18 PWH, of whom 11 were HIV viremic.
Results: SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody concentrations were generally lower in viremic PWH than in virologically suppressed PWH and HIV-negative participants, and neutralization of the Beta variant was 4.9-fold lower in viremic PWH. Most HIV-negative participants and antiretroviral therapy-suppressed PWH also neutralized the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, whereas the majority of viremic PWH did not. CD4 cell counts <500/μL were associated with lower frequencies of immunoglobulin G and A seroconversion. In addition, there was a high correlation between a surrogate virus neutralization test and live virus neutralization against ancestral SARS-CoV-2 virus in both PWH and HIV-negative individuals, but correlation decreased for the Beta variant neutralization in PWH.
Conclusions: HIV viremia was associated with reduced Beta variant neutralization. This highlights the importance of HIV suppression in maintaining an effective SARS-CoV-2 neutralization response.
Keywords: Beta variant; COVID-19; HIV; SARS-CoV-2; antibodies; antiretroviral therapy; neutralization.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.