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Broad and strong memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells induced by SARS-CoV-2 in UK convalescent individuals following COVID-19

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Author(s)

  • Oxford Immunology Network Covid-19 Response T cell Consortium

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalNature immunology
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Aug 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sep 2020
DatePublished (current) - Nov 2020
Issue number11
Volume21
Pages (from-to)1336–1345
Early online date4/09/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The development of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and therapeutics will depend on understanding viral immunity. We studied T cell memory in 42 patients following recovery from COVID-19 (28 with mild disease and 14 with severe disease) and 16 unexposed donors, using interferon-γ-based assays with peptides spanning SARS-CoV-2 except ORF1. The breadth and magnitude of T cell responses were significantly higher in severe as compared with mild cases. Total and spike-specific T cell responses correlated with spike-specific antibody responses. We identified 41 peptides containing CD4+ and/or CD8+ epitopes, including six immunodominant regions. Six optimized CD8+ epitopes were defined, with peptide-MHC pentamer-positive cells displaying the central and effector memory phenotype. In mild cases, higher proportions of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells were observed. The identification of T cell responses associated with milder disease will support an understanding of protective immunity and highlights the potential of including non-spike proteins within future COVID-19 vaccine design.

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc. 2020. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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