Clinical and laboratory considerations: Determining an antibody-based composite correlate of risk for reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 or severe COVID-19
Much of the global population now has some level of adaptive immunity to SARS-CoV-2 induced by exposure to the virus (natural infection), vaccination, or a combination of both (hybrid immunity). Key questions that subsequently arise relate to the duration and the level of protection an individual might expect based on their infection and vaccination history. A multi-component composite correlate of risk (CoR) could inform individuals and stakeholders about protection and aid decision making. This perspective evaluates the various elements that need to be accommodated in the development of an antibody-based composite CoR for reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 or development of severe COVID-19, including variation in exposure dose, transmission route, viral genetic variation, patient factors, and vaccination status. We provide an overview of antibody dynamics to aid exploration of the specifics of SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing. We further discuss anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoassays, sample matrices, testing formats, frequency of sampling and the optimal time point for such sampling. Whilst the development of a composite CoR is challenging, we provide our recommendations for each of these key areas and highlight areas that require further work to be undertaken.