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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1883004

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Data on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine immunogenicity in PLWH are currently limited. Aim of the study was to investigate immunogenicity according to current CD4 T-cell count. METHODS: PLWH on ART attending a SARS-CoV-2 vaccination program, were included in a prospective immunogenicity evaluation after receiving BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273. Participants were stratified by current CD4 T-cell count (poor CD4 recovery, PCDR: <200/mm 3; intermediate CD4 recovery, ICDR: 200-500/mm 3 high CD4 recovery, HCDR: >500/mm 3). RBD-binding IgG, SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) and IFN-γ release were measured. As control group, HIV-negative healthcare workers (HCWs) were used. FINDINGS: Among 166 PLWH after 1 month from the second dose, detectable RBD-binding IgG were elicited in 86.7% of PCDR, 100% of ICDR, 98.7% of HCDR, and a neutralizing titre ≥1:10 elicited in 70.0%, 88.2% and 93.1%, respectively. Compared to HCDR, all immune response parameters were significantly lower in PCDR. After adjusting for confounders, current CD4 T-cell <200/mm 3 significantly predicted a poor magnitude of anti-RDB, nAbs and IFN-γ response. As compared with HCWs, PCDR elicited a consistently reduced immunogenicity for all parameters, ICDR only a reduced RBD-binding antibody response, whereas HCDR elicited a comparable immune response for all parameters. CONCLUSION: Humoral and cell-mediated immune response against SARS-CoV-2 were elicited in most of PLWH, albeit significantly poorer in those with CD4 T-cell <200/mm 3 versus those with >500 cell/mm 3 and HIV-negative controls. A decreased RBD-binding antibody response than HCWs was also observed in PLWH with CD4 T-cell 200-500/mm 3, whereas immune response elicited in PLWH with a CD4 T-cell >500/mm 3 was comparable to HIV-negative population.

2.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869820

ABSTRACT

New emerging viruses belonging to the Coronaviridae, Flaviviridae, and Filoviridae families are serious threats to public health and represent a global concern. The surveillance to monitor the emergence of new viruses and their transmission is an important target for public health authorities. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an excellent example of a pathogen able to cause a pandemic. In a few months, SARS-CoV-2 has spread globally from China, and it has become a world health problem. Gammadelta (γδ) T cell are sentinels of innate immunity and are able to protect the host from viral infections. They enrich many tissues, such as the skin, intestines, and lungs where they can sense and fight the microbes, thus contributing to the protective immune response. γδ T cells perform their direct antiviral activity by cytolytic and non-cytolytic mechanisms against a wide range of viruses, and they are able to orchestrate the cellular interplay between innate and acquired immunity. For their pleiotropic features, γδ T cells have been proposed as a target for immunotherapies in both cancer and viral infections. In this review, we analyzed the role of γδ T cells in emerging viral infections to define the profile of the response and to better depict their role in the host protection.

3.
Frontiers in immunology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1837338

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Viral replication in the respiratory tract induces the death of infected cells and the release of pathogen- associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PAMPs give rise to local inflammation, increasing the secretion of pro- inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, which attract immune cells from the blood into the infected lung. In most individuals, lung-recruited cells clear the infection, and the immune response retreats. However, in some cases, a dysfunctional immune response occurs, which triggers a cytokine storm in the lung, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Severe COVID-19 is characterized by an impaired innate and adaptive immune response and by a massive expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSCs function as protective regulators of the immune response, protecting the host from over-immunoreactivity and hyper-inflammation. However, under certain conditions, such as chronic inflammation and cancer, MDSCs could exert a detrimental role. Accordingly, the early expansion of MDSCs in COVID-19 is able to predict the fatal outcome of the infection. Here, we review recent data on MDSCs during COVID-19, discussing how they can influence the course of the disease and whether they could be considered as biomarker and possible targets for new therapeutic approaches.

4.
iScience ; 25(2): 103854, 2022 Feb 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683209

ABSTRACT

To assess the cross-talk between immune cells and respiratory tract during SARS-CoV-2 infection, we analyzed the relationships between the inflammatory response induced by SARS-CoV-2 replication and immune cells phenotype in a reconstituted organotypic human airway epithelium (HAE). The results indicated that immune cells failed to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in the HAE model. In contrast, immune cells strongly affected the inflammatory profile induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection, dampening the production of several immunoregulatory/inflammatory signals (e.g., IL-35, IL-27, and IL-34). Moreover, these mediators were found inversely correlated with innate immune cell frequency (NK and γδ T cells) and directly with CD8 T cells. The enriched signals associated with NK and CD8 T cells highlighted the modulation of pathways induced by SARS-CoV-2 infected HAE. These findings are useful to depict the cell-cell communication mechanisms necessary to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed to promote an effective immune response.

5.
Neurology ; 98(5): e541-e554, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673960

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the immune-specific response after full severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccination of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with different disease-modifying drugs by the detection of both serologic and T-cell responses. METHODS: Healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients with MS, having completed the 2-dose schedule of an mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in the past 2-4 weeks, were enrolled from 2 parallel prospective studies conducted in Rome, Italy, at the National Institute for Infectious diseases Spallanzani-IRCSS and San Camillo Forlanini Hospital. Serologic response was evaluated by quantifying the region-binding domain (RBD) and neutralizing antibodies. Cell-mediated response was analyzed by a whole-blood test quantifying interferon (IFN)-γ response to spike peptides. Cells responding to spike stimulation were identified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis. RESULTS: We prospectively enrolled 186 vaccinated individuals: 78 HCWs and 108 patients with MS. Twenty-eight patients with MS were treated with IFN-ß, 35 with fingolimod, 20 with cladribine, and 25 with ocrelizumab. A lower anti-RBD antibody response rate was found in patients treated with ocrelizumab (40%, p < 0.0001) and fingolimod (85.7%, p = 0.0023) compared to HCWs and patients treated with cladribine or IFN-ß. Anti-RBD antibody median titer was lower in patients treated with ocrelizumab (p < 0.0001), fingolimod (p < 0.0001), and cladribine (p = 0.010) compared to HCWs and IFN-ß-treated patients. Serum neutralizing activity was present in all the HCWs tested and in only a minority of the fingolimod-treated patients (16.6%). T-cell-specific response was detected in the majority of patients with MS (62%), albeit with significantly lower IFN-γ levels compared to HCWs. The lowest frequency of T-cell response was found in fingolimod-treated patients (14.3%). T-cell-specific response correlated with lymphocyte count and anti-RBD antibody titer (ρ = 0.554, p < 0.0001 and ρ = 0.255, p = 0.0078 respectively). IFN-γ T-cell response was mediated by both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. DISCUSSION: mRNA vaccines induce both humoral and cell-mediated specific immune responses against spike peptides in all HCWs and in the majority of patients with MS. These results carry relevant implications for managing vaccinations, suggesting promoting vaccination in all treated patients with MS. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class III data that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination induces both humoral and cell-mediated specific immune responses against viral spike proteins in a majority of patients with MS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Multiple Sclerosis , Antibodies, Viral , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunity , Multiple Sclerosis/drug therapy , Prospective Studies , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
6.
iScience ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1660975

ABSTRACT

To assess the cross talk between immune cells and respiratory tract during SARS-CoV-2 infection, we analysed the relationships between the inflammatory response induced by SARS-CoV-2 replication and immune cells phenotype in a reconstituted organotypic human airway epithelium (HAE). The results indicated that immune cells failed to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in HAE model. In contrast, immune cells strongly affected the inflammatory profile induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection, dampening the production of several immunoregulatory/inflammatory signals (e.g., IL-35, IL-27 and IL-34). Moreover, these mediators were found inversely correlated with innate immune cell frequency (NK and γδ T cells) and directly with CD8 T cells. The enriched signals associated with NK and CD8 T cells highlighted the modulation of pathways induced by SARS-CoV-2 infected HAE. These findings are useful to depict the cell-cell communication mechanisms necessary to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed to promote an effective immune response. Graphical

7.
Viruses ; 14(1)2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631201

ABSTRACT

γδ T cells are innate cells able to quickly eliminate pathogens or infected/tumoral cells by their antiviral and adjuvancy activities. The role of γδ T cells during Dengue Viral Infection (DENV) infection is not fully elucidated. Nevertheless, human primary γδ T cells have been shown to kill in vitro DENV-infected cells, thus highlighting their possible antiviral function. The aim of this work was to characterize the phenotype and function of Vδ2 T cells in DENV patients. Fifteen DENV patients were enrolled for this study and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were used to analyze Vδ2-T-cell frequency, differentiation profile, activation/exhaustion status, and functionality by multiparametric flow cytometry. Our data demonstrated that DENV infection was able to significantly reduce Vδ2-T-cell frequency and to increase their activation (CD38 and HLA-DR) and exhaustion markers (PD-1 and TIM-3). Furthermore, Vδ2 T cells showed a reduced capability to produce IFN-γ after phosphoantigenic stimulation that can be associated to TIM-3 expression. Several studies are needed to depict the possible clinical impact of γδ-T-cell impairment on disease severity and to define the antiviral and immunoregulatory activities of γδ T cells in the first phases of infection.


Subject(s)
Dengue/immunology , Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 2/metabolism , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Intraepithelial Lymphocytes/immunology , Adaptation, Physiological , Adult , Flow Cytometry , Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 2/genetics , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology
8.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-294112

ABSTRACT

Background: Data on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine immunogenicity in PLWH are currently limited. Aim of the study was to investigate immunogenicity according to current CD4 T-cell count and predictive role on immune response to vaccination in PLWH.<br><br>Methods: PLWH attending a single-center SARS-CoV-2 vaccination program in Italy, were included in a prospective evaluation for immunogenicity after receiving BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273. PLWH were stratified according to current CD4 T-cell count (severe immunodeficiency, SID: <200/mm 3 ;minor immunodeficiency, MID: 200-500/mm 3 ;no immunodeficiency, NID: >500/mm 3 ). RBD-binding IgG, SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) and cell-mediated (IFN-γ/IL-2) immune response were measured. As control group, not-matched HIV-negative healthcare workers (HCWs) were used.<br><br>Findings: Participants were 166 PLWH (SID=32;MID=56;NID=78) on ART. After 1 month from the booster dose, detectable RBD-binding IgG in 86.7% of SID, in 100% of MID, in 98.7% of NID (SID vs NID, p=0.021) and nAbs (titre ≥1:10) in 70.0%, 88.2% and 93.1%, respectively (SID vs NID, p=0.002), were elicited. Compared to NID, magnitude of anti-RBD, nAbs and IFN-γ production was significantly lower in SID and comparable in MID. After adjusting for confounders, current CD4 T-cell <200/mm 3 significantly predicted a poor magnitude of anti-RDB, nAbs and IFN-γ production. As compared with HCWs, SID elicited a consistently reduced immunogenicity for all parameters, MID only a reduced RBD-binding antibody response, NID a comparable response to HIV-negative controls for all parameters.<br><br>Interpretation: Neutralizing and cell-mediated immune response against SARS-CoV-2 were elicited in most of PLWH receiving ART, albeit significantly poorer in those with current CD4 T-cell <200/mm 3 versus those with CD4 T-cell >500/mm 3 and HIV-negative controls. A marginal decreased immunogenicity than HCWs was also observed in PLWH with CD4 T-cell 200-500/mm 3 , whereas immune response elicited in PLWH with a CD4 T-cell >500/mm 3 was comparable to HIV-negative population.<br><br>Funding: Italian Ministry of Health;European Commission, European Virus Archive – GLOBAL.<br><br>Declaration of Interest: None to declare. <br><br>Ethical Approval: The study was approved by the Scientific Committee of the Italian Drug Agency (AIFA) and by the Ethical Committee of the Lazzaro Spallanzani Institute, as National Review Board for COVID-19 pandemic in Italy (approval number 323/2021).

9.
Neurology ; 98(5): e541-e554, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528702

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the immune-specific response after full severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccination of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with different disease-modifying drugs by the detection of both serologic and T-cell responses. METHODS: Healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients with MS, having completed the 2-dose schedule of an mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in the past 2-4 weeks, were enrolled from 2 parallel prospective studies conducted in Rome, Italy, at the National Institute for Infectious diseases Spallanzani-IRCSS and San Camillo Forlanini Hospital. Serologic response was evaluated by quantifying the region-binding domain (RBD) and neutralizing antibodies. Cell-mediated response was analyzed by a whole-blood test quantifying interferon (IFN)-γ response to spike peptides. Cells responding to spike stimulation were identified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis. RESULTS: We prospectively enrolled 186 vaccinated individuals: 78 HCWs and 108 patients with MS. Twenty-eight patients with MS were treated with IFN-ß, 35 with fingolimod, 20 with cladribine, and 25 with ocrelizumab. A lower anti-RBD antibody response rate was found in patients treated with ocrelizumab (40%, p < 0.0001) and fingolimod (85.7%, p = 0.0023) compared to HCWs and patients treated with cladribine or IFN-ß. Anti-RBD antibody median titer was lower in patients treated with ocrelizumab (p < 0.0001), fingolimod (p < 0.0001), and cladribine (p = 0.010) compared to HCWs and IFN-ß-treated patients. Serum neutralizing activity was present in all the HCWs tested and in only a minority of the fingolimod-treated patients (16.6%). T-cell-specific response was detected in the majority of patients with MS (62%), albeit with significantly lower IFN-γ levels compared to HCWs. The lowest frequency of T-cell response was found in fingolimod-treated patients (14.3%). T-cell-specific response correlated with lymphocyte count and anti-RBD antibody titer (ρ = 0.554, p < 0.0001 and ρ = 0.255, p = 0.0078 respectively). IFN-γ T-cell response was mediated by both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. DISCUSSION: mRNA vaccines induce both humoral and cell-mediated specific immune responses against spike peptides in all HCWs and in the majority of patients with MS. These results carry relevant implications for managing vaccinations, suggesting promoting vaccination in all treated patients with MS. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class III data that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination induces both humoral and cell-mediated specific immune responses against viral spike proteins in a majority of patients with MS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Multiple Sclerosis , Antibodies, Viral , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunity , Multiple Sclerosis/drug therapy , Prospective Studies , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
10.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 131, 2021 Nov 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503480

ABSTRACT

Here we report on the humoral and cellular immune response in eight volunteers who autonomously chose to adhere to the Italian national COVID-19 vaccination campaign more than 3 months after receiving a single-administration GRAd-COV2 vaccine candidate in the context of the phase-1 clinical trial. We observed a clear boost of both binding/neutralizing antibodies as well as T-cell responses upon receipt of the heterologous BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1-nCOV19 vaccines. These results, despite the limitation of the small sample size, support the concept that a single dose of an adenoviral vaccine may represent an ideal tool to effectively prime a balanced immune response, which can be boosted to high levels by a single dose of a different vaccine platform.

11.
Sci Transl Med ; 14(627): eabj1996, 2022 Jan 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483986

ABSTRACT

Safe and effective vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are essential for ending the ongoing pandemic. Although impressive progress has been made with several COVID-19 vaccines already approved, it is clear that those developed so far cannot meet the global vaccine demand alone. We describe a COVID-19 vaccine based on a replication-defective gorilla adenovirus expressing the stabilized prefusion severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein named GRAd-COV2. We assessed the safety and immunogenicity of a single-dose regimen of this vaccine in healthy younger and older adults to select the appropriate dose for each age group. For this purpose, a phase 1, dose-escalation, open-labeled trial was conducted including 90 healthy participants (45 aged 18 to 55 years old and 45 aged 65 to 85 years old) who received a single intramuscular administration of GRAd-COV2 at three escalating doses. Local and systemic adverse reactions were mostly mild or moderate and of short duration, and no serious adverse events were reported. Four weeks after vaccination, seroconversion to spike protein and receptor binding domain was achieved in 43 of 44 young volunteers and in 45 of 45 older participants. Consistently, neutralizing antibodies were detected in 42 of 44 younger-age and 45 of 45 older-age volunteers. In addition, GRAd-COV2 induced a robust and T helper 1 cell (TH1)­skewed T cell response against the spike protein in 89 of 90 participants from both age groups. Overall, the safety and immunogenicity data from the phase 1 trial support the further development of this vaccine.


Subject(s)
Adenovirus Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adenoviridae , Aged , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines , Gorilla gorilla , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Front Immunol ; 12: 740249, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448730

ABSTRACT

Objective: To assess in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, treated with different immunosuppressive therapies, the induction of SARS-CoV-2-specific immune response after vaccination in terms of anti-region-binding-domain (RBD)-antibody- and T-cell-specific responses against spike, and the vaccine safety in terms of clinical impact on disease activity. Methods: Health care workers (HCWs) and RA patients, having completed the BNT162b2-mRNA vaccination in the last 2 weeks, were enrolled. Serological response was evaluated by quantifying anti-RBD antibodies, while the cell-mediated response was evaluated by a whole-blood test quantifying the interferon (IFN)-γ-response to spike peptides. FACS analysis was performed to identify the cells responding to spike stimulation. RA disease activity was evaluated by clinical examination through the DAS28crp, and local and/or systemic clinical adverse events were registered. In RA patients, the ongoing therapeutic regimen was modified during the vaccination period according to the American College of Rheumatology indications. Results: We prospectively enrolled 167 HCWs and 35 RA patients. Anti-RBD-antibodies were detected in almost all patients (34/35, 97%), although the titer was significantly reduced in patients under CTLA-4-inhibitors (median: 465 BAU/mL, IQR: 103-1189, p<0.001) or IL-6-inhibitors (median: 492 BAU/mL, IQR: 161-1007, p<0.001) compared to HCWs (median: 2351 BAU/mL, IQR: 1389-3748). T-cell-specific response scored positive in most of RA patients [24/35, (69%)] with significantly lower IFN-γ levels in patients under biological therapy such as IL-6-inhibitors (median: 33.2 pg/mL, IQR: 6.1-73.9, p<0.001), CTLA-4-inhibitors (median: 10.9 pg/mL, IQR: 3.7-36.7, p<0.001), and TNF-α-inhibitors (median: 89.6 pg/mL, IQR: 17.8-224, p=0.002) compared to HCWs (median: 343 pg/mL, IQR: 188-756). A significant correlation between the anti-RBD-antibody titer and spike-IFN-γ-specific T-cell response was found in RA patients (rho=0.432, p=0.009). IFN-γ T-cell response was mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Finally, no significant increase in disease activity was found in RA patients following vaccination. Conclusion: This study showed for the first time that antibody-specific and whole-blood spike-specific T-cell responses induced by the COVID-19 mRNA-vaccine were present in the majority of RA patients, who underwent a strategy of temporary suspension of immunosuppressive treatment during vaccine administration. However, the magnitude of specific responses was dependent on the immunosuppressive therapy administered. In RA patients, BNT162b2 vaccine was safe and disease activity remained stable.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunotherapy/adverse effects , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Aged , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
13.
Cells ; 10(8)2021 08 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360725

ABSTRACT

Massive platelet activation and thrombotic events characterize severe COVID-19, highlighting their critical role in SARS-CoV-2-induced immunopathology. Since there is a well-described expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) in severe COVID-19, we evaluated their possible role in platelet activation during SARS-CoV-2 infection. During COVID-19, a lower plasmatic L-arginine level was observed compared to healthy donors, which correlated with MDSC frequency. Additionally, activated GPIIb/IIIa complex (PAC-1) expression was higher on platelets from severe COVID-19 patients compared to healthy controls and inversely correlated with L-arginine plasmatic concentration. Notably, MDSC were able to induce PAC-1 expression in vitro by reducing L-arginine concentration, indicating a direct role of PMN-MDSC in platelet activation. Accordingly, we found a positive correlation between ex vivo platelet PAC-1 expression and PMN-MDSC frequency. Overall, our data demonstrate the involvement of PMN-MDSC in triggering platelet activation during COVID-19, highlighting a novel role of MDSC in driving COVID-19 pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
Arginine/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/immunology , Platelet Activation , Thrombosis/etiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Arginine/physiology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/physiopathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/physiology , Young Adult
14.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(6)2021 Jun 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264538

ABSTRACT

Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is considered the most effective method of prevention to contain the pandemic. While highly effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are being applied on a large-scale, whether and to what extent the strength of the vaccine-induced immune response could be further potentiated is still an object of debate. Several reports studied the effect of different vaccines on the susceptibility and mortality of COVID-19, with conflicting results. We aimed to evaluate whether previous influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccination had an impact on the specific immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. The study population consists of 710 workers from our Institute who completed the BNT162b2 schedule and have been tested at least once after the second dose, from 27 December 2020 up to 15 April 2021. Of these, 152 (21.4%) had received an influenza and 215 (30.3%) a concomitant influenza and pneumococcal vaccination, a median of 102 days before the second dose of BNT162b2. Overall, 100% of workers were tested for anti-Spike receptor-binding domain (anti-S/RBD) antibodies, 224 workers for neutralization titer (Micro-neutralization assay, MNA), and 155 workers for a spike-specific T cell interferon-γ response (IFN-γ). The levels of anti-S/RBD, MNA and IFN-γ were evaluated and compared according to sex, age, involvement in direct care of COVID-19 patients, and previous influenza/pneumococcal vaccination. At the univariate analysis, no statistically significant association was observed with regard to a previous influenza and pneumococcal vaccination. A significant lower anti-S/RBD response was observed according to an older age and male sex, while MNA titers were significantly associated to sex but not to age. At the multivariable analysis, workers receiving a concomitant influenza and pneumococcal vaccination or only influenza showed a 58% (p 0.01) and 42% (p 0.07) increase in MNA titers, respectively, compared to those who did not receive an influenza/pneumococcal vaccination. Female workers showed an 81% MNA and a 44% anti-S/RBD increase compared to male workers (p < 0.001). Compared to workers aged 21 to 49 years, those aged 50 or older were associated with a reduction in the anti-S/RBD (16%; p 0.005), MNA (31%; p 0.019), and IFN.g (32%) immune response. Maintaining the influenza and pneumococcal immunization program for the coming season, in which COVID-19 could still be spreading, remains strongly recommended to protect those who are more vulnerable and to limit the potential burden of these infections on the healthcare system.

15.
J Med Virol ; 93(3): 1796-1804, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206820

ABSTRACT

Little evidence on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in people living with HIV (PLWH) is currently available. We reported clinical and viroimmunological data of all HIV-positive patients admitted to our center with COVID-19 from March 1 to May 12, 2020. Overall, five patients were included: all were virologically-suppressed on antiretroviral therapy and CD4+ count was greater than 350 cell/mm3 in all but two patients. Although all patients had evidence of pneumonia on admission, only one developed respiratory failure. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA was never detected from nasopharyngeal swabs in two patients, whereas in the others, viral clearance occurred within a maximum of 43 days. Immunoglobulin G production was elicited in all patients and neutralizing antibodies in all but one patient. Specific-T-cell response developed in all patients but was stronger in those with the more severe presentations. Similarly, the highest level of proinflammatory cytokines was found in the only patient experiencing respiratory failure. Despite a mild presentation, patients with more pronounced immunosuppression showed high degrees of both cytokines production and immune activation. Our study did not find an increased risk and severity of COVID-19 in PLWH. Adaptative cellular immune response to SARS-CoV-2 appeared to correlate to disease severity. The mild clinical picture showed in advanced HIV patients, despite a significant T-cell activation and inflammatory profile, suggests a potential role of HIV-driven immunological dysregulation in avoiding immune-pathogenetic processes. However, other possible explanations, as a protective role of certain antiretroviral drugs, should be considered. Further larger studies are needed to better clarify the impact of HIV infection on COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Anti-Retroviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , HIV Infections/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , Coinfection/virology , Cytokines/blood , Female , HIV Integrase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring/therapeutic use , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Oxazines/therapeutic use , Piperazines/therapeutic use , Pyridones/therapeutic use , RNA, Viral/analysis , Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Risk , Severity of Illness Index , Tenofovir/therapeutic use , Transgender Persons
16.
Clin Infect Dis ; 71(16): 2272-2275, 2020 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165366

ABSTRACT

Increased production of inflammatory cytokines and myeloid-derived suppressor cells occurs in patients with coronavirus disease 2019. These inversely correlated with perforin-expressing natural killer (NK) and CD3+ T cells. We observed a lower number of perforin-expressing NK cells in intensive care unit (ICU) patients compared with non-ICU patients, suggesting an impairment of the immune cytotoxic arm as a pathogenic mechanism.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Inflammation/blood , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Perforin/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Aged , COVID-19/blood , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Inflammation/complications , Inflammation/immunology , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Italy , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Int J Infect Dis ; 105: 49-53, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1071458

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: A dysregulated inflammatory profile plays an important role in coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis. Moreover, the depletion of lymphocytes is typically associated with an unfavourable disease course. We studied the role and impact of p53 and deacetylase Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) on lymph-monocyte homeostasis and their possible effect on T and B cell signalling. METHODS: Gene expression analysis and flow cytometry were performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 35 COVID-19 patients and 10 healthy donors (HD). Inflammatory cytokines, the frequency of Annexin+ cells among CD3+ T cells and CD19+ B cell subsets were quantified. RESULTS: PBMC from COVID-19 patients had a higher p53 expression, and higher concentrations of plasma proinflammatory cytokines (IL1ß, TNF-α, IL8, and IL6) than HD. Deacetylase Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression was significantly decreased in COVID-19 patients and was negatively correlated with p53 (p = 0.003 and r = -0.48). A lower expression of IL-7R and B Cell linker (BLNK), key genes for lymphocyte homeostasis and function, was observed in COVID-19 than in HD. The reduction of IgK and IgL chains was seen in lymphopenic COVID-19 patients. A significant increase in both apoptotic B and T cells were observed. Inflammatory cytokines correlated positively with p53 (IL-1ß: r = 0.5 and p = 0.05; IL-8: r = 0.5 and p = 0.05) and negatively with SIRT1 (IL1-ß: r = -0.5 and p = 0.04; TNF-α: r = -0.4 and p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our data indicate that the inflammatory environment, the dysregulated p53/SIRT1 axis and low expression of IL7R and BLNK may impact cell survival, B cell signalling and antibody production in COVID-19 patients. Further studies are required to define the functional impact of low BLNK/IL7R expression during severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Homeostasis , Lymphocytes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sirtuin 1/physiology , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/physiology , Aged , Cytokines/blood , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
18.
Front Immunol ; 11: 610300, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1005638

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus, not encountered before by humans. The wide spectrum of clinical expression of SARS-CoV-2 illness suggests that individual immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 play a crucial role in determining the clinical course after first infection. Immunological studies have focused on patients with moderate to severe disease, demonstrating excessive inflammation in tissues and organ damage. In order to understand the basis of the protective immune response in COVID-19, we performed a longitudinal follow-up, flow-cytometric and serological analysis of innate and adaptive immunity in 64 adults with a spectrum of clinical presentations: 28 healthy SARS-CoV-2-negative contacts of COVID-19 cases; 20 asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected cases; eight patients with Mild COVID-19 disease and eight cases of Severe COVID-19 disease. Our data show that high frequency of NK cells and early and transient increase of specific IgA, IgM and, to a lower extent, IgG are associated with asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. By contrast, monocyte expansion and high and persistent levels of IgA and IgG, produced relatively late in the course of the infection, characterize severe disease. Modest increase of monocytes and different kinetics of antibodies are detected in mild COVID-19. The importance of innate NK cells and the short-lived antibody response of asymptomatic individuals and patients with mild disease suggest that only severe COVID-19 may result in protective memory established by the adaptive immune response.


Subject(s)
Adaptive Immunity , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , Male , Severity of Illness Index
19.
Cell Death Dis ; 11(10): 921, 2020 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894382

ABSTRACT

The immunological mechanisms underlying the clinical presentation of SARS-CoV-2 infection and those influencing the disease outcome remain to be defined. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) have been described to be highly increased during COVID-19, however, their role remains elusive. We performed an in depth analysis of MDSC in 128 SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. Polymorphonuclear (PMN)-MDSC expanded during COVID-19, in particular in patients who required intensive care treatments, and correlated with IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α plasma levels. PMN-MDSC inhibited T-cells IFN-γ production upon SARS-CoV-2 peptides stimulation, through TGF-ß- and iNOS-mediated mechanisms, possibly contrasting virus elimination. Accordingly, a multivariate regression analysis found a strong association between PMN-MDSC percentage and fatal outcome of the disease. The PMN-MDSC frequency was higher in non-survivors than survivors at the admission time, followed by a decreasing trend. Interestingly, this trend was associated with IL-6 increase in non-survivors but not in survivors. In conclusion, this study indicates PMN-MDSC as a novel factor in the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV2 infection, and open up to new therapeutic options.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Aged , Area Under Curve , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Interleukin-1beta/blood , Interleukin-6/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/cytology , Neutrophils/cytology , Neutrophils/immunology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II/metabolism , Pandemics , Peptides/immunology , Peptides/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Proportional Hazards Models , ROC Curve , SARS-CoV-2 , Survival Rate , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Transforming Growth Factor beta/blood , Transforming Growth Factor beta/metabolism
20.
Cell Death Differ ; 27(11): 3196-3207, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-591591

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is associated with a 3.4% mortality rate in patients with severe disease. The pathogenesis of severe cases remains unknown. We performed an in-depth prospective analysis of immune and inflammation markers in two patients with severe COVID-19 disease from presentation to convalescence. Peripheral blood from 18 SARS-CoV-2-infected patients, 9 with severe and 9 with mild COVID-19 disease, was obtained at admission and analyzed for T-cell activation profile, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and cytokine profiles. MDSC functionality was tested in vitro. In four severe and in four mild patients, a longitudinal analysis was performed daily from the day of admission to the early convalescent phase. Early after admission severe patients showed neutrophilia, lymphopenia, increase in effector T cells, a persisting higher expression of CD95 on T cells, higher serum concentration of IL-6 and TGF-ß, and a cytotoxic profile of NK and T cells compared with mild patients, suggesting a highly engaged immune response. Massive expansion of MDSCs was observed, up to 90% of total circulating mononuclear cells in patients with severe disease, and up to 25% in the patients with mild disease; the frequency decreasing with recovery. MDSCs suppressed T-cell functions, dampening excessive immune response. MDSCs decline at convalescent phase was associated to a reduction in TGF-ß and to an increase of inflammatory cytokines in plasma samples. Substantial expansion of suppressor cells is seen in patients with severe COVID-19. Further studies are required to define their roles in reducing the excessive activation/inflammation, protection, influencing disease progression, potential to serve as biomarkers of disease severity, and new targets for immune and host-directed therapeutic approaches.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/cytology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Adult , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Progression , Female , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/immunology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
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