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cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope

Topic 15

cell antibody immune cov-2-specific epitope unexposed threshold last decline single memory reveal protective individual bide

Convergent Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Convalescent Individuals

During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 infected millions of people and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Virus entry into cells depends on the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S). Although there is no vaccine, it is likely that antibodies will be essential for protection. However, little is known about the human antibody response to SARS-CoV-21-5. Here we report on 68 COVID-19 convalescent individuals. Plasmas collected an average of 30 days after the onset of symptoms had variable half-maximal neutralizing titers ranging from undetectable in 18% to below 1:1000 in 78%, while only 3% showed titers >1:5000. Antibody cloning revealed expanded clones of RBD-specific memory B cells expressing closely related antibodies in different individuals. Despite low plasma titers, antibodies to distinct epitopes on RBD neutralized at half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) as low as few ng/mL. Thus, most convalescent plasmas obtained from individuals who recover from COVID-19 without hospitalization do not contain high levels of neutralizing activity. Nevertheless, rare but recurring RBD-specific antibodies with potent antiviral activity were found in all individuals tested, suggesting that a vaccine designed to elicit such antibodies could be broadly effective.
covid-19
vaccine
development
immune response
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
protein, spike, neutralize, ace2, design
Functional SARS-CoV-2-specific immune memory persists after mild COVID-19

The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 virus is currently causing a global pandemic and cases continue to rise. The majority of infected individuals experience mildly symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but it is unknown whether this can induce persistent immune memory that might contribute to herd immunity. Thus, we performed a longitudinal assessment of individuals recovered from mildly symptomatic COVID-19 to determine if they develop and sustain immunological memory against the virus. We found that recovered individuals developed SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibody and neutralizing plasma, as well as virus-specific memory B and T cells that not only persisted, but in some cases increased numerically over three months following symptom onset. Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2-specific memory lymphocytes exhibited characteristics associated with potent antiviral immunity: memory T cells secreted IFN-γ and expanded upon antigen re-encounter, while memory B cells expressed receptors capable of neutralizing virus when expressed as antibodies. These findings demonstrate that mild COVID-19 elicits memory lymphocytes that persist and display functional hallmarks associated with antiviral protective immunity.
covid-19
immunity
immunology
mild symptom
reinfection
antibody levels
neutralization
longitudinal design
potency
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
protein, spike, neutralize, ace2, design
SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and uninfected controls

Memory T cells induced by previous pathogens can shape susceptibility to, and the clinical severity of, subsequent infections1. Little is known about the presence in humans of pre-existing memory T cells that have the potential to recognize severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we studied T cell responses against the structural (nucleocapsid (N) protein) and non-structural (NSP7 and NSP13 of ORF1) regions of SARS-CoV-2 in individuals convalescing from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (n = 36). In all of these individuals, we found CD4 and CD8 T cells that recognized multiple regions of the N protein. Next, we showed that patients (n = 23) who recovered from SARS (the disease associated with SARS-CoV infection) possess long-lasting memory T cells that are reactive to the N protein of SARS-CoV 17 years after the outbreak of SARS in 2003; these T cells displayed robust cross-reactivity to the N protein of SARS-CoV-2. We also detected SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in individuals with no history of SARS, COVID-19 or contact with individuals who had SARS and/or COVID-19 (n = 37). SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in uninfected donors exhibited a different pattern of immunodominance, and frequently targeted NSP7 and NSP13 as well as the N protein. Epitope characterization of NSP7-specific T cells showed the recognition of protein fragments that are conserved among animal betacoronaviruses but have low homology to ‘common cold’ human-associated coronaviruses. Thus, infection with betacoronaviruses induces multi-specific and long-lasting T cell immunity against the structural N protein. Understanding how pre-existing N- and ORF1-specific T cells that are present in the general population affect the susceptibility to and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is important for the management of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
covid-19
susceptibility
sars
immunity
protection
t cell
severity
individual differences
pathogenesis
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
protein, spike, neutralize, ace2, design
Selective and cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes in unexposed humans

Many unknowns exist about human immune responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. SARS-CoV-2 reactive CD4+ T cells have been reported in unexposed individuals, suggesting pre-existing cross-reactive T cell memory in 20-50% of people. However, the source of those T cells has been speculative. Using human blood samples derived before the SARS-CoV-2 virus was discovered in 2019, we mapped 142 T cell epitopes across the SARS-CoV-2 genome to facilitate precise interrogation of the SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cell repertoire. We demonstrate a range of pre-existing memory CD4+ T cells that are cross-reactive with comparable affinity to SARS-CoV-2 and the common cold coronaviruses HCoV-OC43, HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, or HCoV-HKU1. Thus, variegated T cell memory to coronaviruses that cause the common cold may underlie at least some of the extensive heterogeneity observed in COVID-19 disease.
covid-19
heterogeneity
immune response
immunology
t cell
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
protein, spike, neutralize, ace2, design
Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in humans with COVID-19 disease and unexposed individuals

Understanding adaptive immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is important for vaccine development, interpreting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis, and calibration of pandemic control measures. Using HLA class I and II predicted peptide ‘megapools’, circulating SARS-CoV-2−specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells were identified in ∼70% and 100% of COVID-19 convalescent patients, respectively. CD4+ T cell responses to spike, the main target of most vaccine efforts, were robust and correlated with the magnitude of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA titers. The M, spike and N proteins each accounted for 11-27% of the total CD4+ response, with additional responses commonly targeting nsp3, nsp4, ORF3a and ORF8, among others. For CD8+ T cells, spike and M were recognized, with at least eight SARS-CoV-2 ORFs targeted. Importantly, we detected SARS-CoV-2−reactive CD4+ T cells in ∼40-60% of unexposed individuals, suggesting cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating ‘common cold’ coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.
covid-19
vaccine
development
coronavirus
t cell
sars-cov-2
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
protein, spike, neutralize, ace2, design
SARS-CoV-2 infection induces robust, neutralizing antibody responses that are stable for at least three months
July 17, 2020 · · Original resource · preprint

SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic with millions infected and numerous fatalities. Questions regarding the robustness, functionality and longevity of the antibody response to the virus remain unanswered. Here we report that the vast majority of infected individuals with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 experience robust IgG antibody responses against the viral spike protein, based on a dataset of 19,860 individuals screened at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. We also show that titers are stable for at least a period approximating three months, and that anti-spike binding titers significantly correlate with neutralization of authentic SARS-CoV-2. Our data suggests that more than 90% of seroconverters make detectible neutralizing antibody responses and that these titers are stable for at least the near-term future.
covid-19
vaccination
sars-cov-2
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
protein, spike, neutralize, ace2, design
Longitudinal evaluation and decline of antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 infection

Antibody (Ab) responses to SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in most infected individuals 10-15 days following the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. However, due to the recent emergence of this virus in the human population it is not yet known how long these Ab responses will be maintained or whether they will provide protection from re-infection. Using sequential serum samples collected up to 94 days post onset of symptoms (POS) from 65 RT-qPCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals, we show seroconversion in >95% of cases and neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses when sampled beyond 8 days POS. We demonstrate that the magnitude of the nAb response is dependent upon the disease severity, but this does not affect the kinetics of the nAb response. Declining nAb titres were observed during the follow up period. Whilst some individuals with high peak ID50 (>10,000) maintained titres >1,000 at >60 days POS, some with lower peak ID50 had titres approaching baseline within the follow up period. A similar decline in nAb titres was also observed in a cohort of seropositive healthcare workers from Guy′s and St Thomas′ Hospitals. We suggest that this transient nAb response is a feature shared by both a SARS-CoV-2 infection that causes low disease severity and the circulating seasonal coronaviruses that are associated with common colds. This study has important implications when considering widespread serological testing, Ab protection against re-infection with SARS-CoV-2 and the durability of vaccine protection.
covid-19
immunity
public health
longitudinal change
epidemiology
serology
severity
future implications
symptom onset
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
sars, respiratory, clinical, cov, syndrome
COVID-19 Patients Form Memory CD8+ T Cells that Recognize a Small Set of Shared Immunodominant Epitopes in SARS-CoV-2

Development of effective strategies to detect, treat, or prevent COVID-19 requires a robust understanding of the natural immune response to SARS-CoV-2, including the cellular response mediated by T cells. We used an unbiased, genome-wide screening technology, termed T-Scan, to identify specific epitopes in SARS-CoV-2 that are recognized by the memory CD8+ T cells of 25 COVID-19 convalescent patients, focusing on epitopes presented by the six most prevalent Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) types: A*02:01, A*01:01, A*03:01, A*11:01, A*24:02, and B*07:02. For each HLA type, the patients' T cells recognized 3-8 immunodominant epitopes that are broadly shared among patients. Remarkably, 94% of screened patients had T cells that recognized at least one of the three most dominant epitopes for a given HLA, and 53% of patients had T cells that recognized all three. Subsequent validation studies in 18 additional A*02:01 patients confirmed the presence of memory CD8+ T cells specific for the top six identified A*02:01 epitopes, and single-cell sequencing revealed that patients often have many different T cell clones targeting each epitope, but that the same T cell receptor Valpha regions are predominantly used to recognize these epitopes, even across patients. In total, we identified 29 shared epitopes across the six HLA types studied. T cells that target most of these immunodominant epitopes (27 of 29) do not cross-react with the endemic coronaviruses that cause the common cold, and the epitopes do not occur in regions with high mutational variation. Notably, only 3 of the 29 epitopes we identified reside in the spike protein, highlighting the need to design new classes of vaccines that recapitulate natural CD8+ T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2.
covid-19
development
immunity
t cell
spike protein
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
protein, spike, neutralize, ace2, design
Coronavirus protective immunity is short-lasting

In the current COVID-19 pandemic a key unsolved question is the duration of acquired immunity in recovered individuals. The recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 precludes a direct study on this virus, but the four seasonal human coronaviruses may reveal common characteristics applicable to all human coronaviruses. We monitored healthy subjects over a time span of 35 years (1985-2020), providing a total of 2473 follow up person-months, and determined a) the time to reinfection by the same seasonal coronavirus and b) the dynamics of coronavirus antibody depletion post-infection. An alarmingly short duration of protective immunity to coronaviruses was found. Reinfections occurred frequently at 12 months post-infection and there was for each virus a substantial reduction in antibody levels as soon as 6 months post-infection.
covid-19
immunity
recovery
reinfection
longitudinal design
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
sars, respiratory, clinical, cov, syndrome
Neutralizing antibodies correlate with protection from SARS-CoV-2 in humans during a fishery vessel outbreak with high attack rate

The development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 would be greatly facilitated by the identification of immunological correlates of protection in humans. However, to date, studies on protective immunity have only been performed in animal models and correlates of protection have not been established in humans. Here, we describe an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 on a fishing vessel associated with a high attack rate. Predeparture serological and viral RT-PCR testing along with repeat testing after return to shore was available for 120 of the 122 persons on board over a median follow-up of 32.5 days (range 18.8 to 50.5 days). A total of 104 individuals had an RT-PCR positive viral test with Ct <35 or seroconverted during the follow-up period, yielding an attack rate on board of 85.2% (104/122 individuals). Metagenomic sequencing of 39 viral genomes suggested the outbreak originated largely from a single viral clade. Only three crewmembers tested seropositive prior to the boat's departure in initial serological screening and also had neutralizing and spike-reactive antibodies in follow-up assays. None of these crewmembers with neutralizing antibody titers showed evidence of bona fide viral infection or experienced any symptoms during the viral outbreak. Therefore, the presence of neutralizing antibodies from prior infection was significantly associated with protection against re-infection (Fisher's exact test, p=0.002).
covid-19
protection
serology
immunology
positive link
reinfection
antibody
cell, antibody, immune, cov-2-specific, epitope
sars, respiratory, clinical, cov, syndrome