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

Berit Lange, Veronika K Jaeger, Manuela Harries, Viktoria Rücker, Hendrik Streeck, Sabine Blaschke, Astrid Petersmann, Nicole Toepfner, Matthias Nauck, Max J Hassenstein, Maren Dreier, Isabell von Holt, Axel Budde, Antonia Bartz, Julia Ortmann, Marc-André Kurosinski, Reinhard Berner, Max Borsche, Gunnar Brandhorst, Melanie BrinkmannKathrin Budde, Marek Deckena, Geraldine Engels, Marc Fenzlaff, Christoph Härtel, Olga Hovardovska, Alexander Katalinic, Katja Kehl, Mirjam Kohls, Stefan Krüger, Wolfgang Lieb, Kristin M Meyer-Schlinkmann, Tobias Pischon, Daniel Rosenkranz, Nicole Rübsamen, Jan Rupp, Christian Schäfer, Mario Schattschneider, Anne Schlegtendal, Simon Schlinkert, Lena Schmidbauer, Kai Schulze-Wundling, Stefan Störk, Carsten Tiemann, Henry Völzke, Theresa Winter, Christine Klein, Johannes Liese, Folke Brinkmann, Patrick F Ottensmeyer, Jens-Peter Reese, Peter Heuschmann, André Karch

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.

OriginalspracheEnglisch
ZeitschriftInfection
Jahrgang52
Ausgabenummer1
Seiten (von - bis)139-153
ISSN0300-8126
DOIs
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2023

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Profilbereich: Zentrum für Bevölkerungsmedizin und Versorgungsforschung (ZBV)
  • Forschungsschwerpunkt: Infektion und Entzündung - Zentrum für Infektions- und Entzündungsforschung Lübeck (ZIEL)

Coronavirus-Bezug

  • Forschung zu SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19

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