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Immunology ; 2021 Nov 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511322


Accurate assessment of SARS-CoV-2 immunity is critical in evaluating vaccine efficacy and devising public health policies. Whilst the exact nature of effective immunity remains incompletely defined, SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses are a critical feature that will likely form a key correlate of protection against COVID-19. Here, we developed and optimized a high-throughput whole blood-based assay to determine the T-cell response associated with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or vaccination amongst 231 healthy donors and 68 cancer patients. Following overnight in vitro stimulation with SARS-CoV-2-specific peptides, blood plasma samples were analysed for TH 1-type cytokines. Highly significant differential IFN-γ+ /IL-2+ SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses were seen amongst previously infected COVID-19-positive healthy donors in comparison with unknown / naïve individuals (p < 0·0001). IFN-γ production was more effective at identifying asymptomatic donors, demonstrating higher sensitivity (96·0% vs. 83·3%) but lower specificity (84·4% vs. 92·5%) than measurement of IL-2. A single COVID-19 vaccine dose induced IFN-γ and/or IL-2 SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses in 116 of 128 (90·6%) healthy donors, reducing significantly to 27 of 56 (48·2%) when measured in cancer patients (p < 0·0001). A second dose was sufficient to boost T-cell responses in the majority (90·6%) of cancer patients, albeit IFN-γ+ responses were still significantly lower overall than those induced in healthy donors (p = 0·034). Three-month post-vaccination T-cell responses also declined at a faster rate in cancer patients. Overall, this cost-effective standardizable test ensures accurate and comparable assessments of SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses amenable to widespread population immunity testing, and identifies individuals at greater need of booster vaccinations.

iScience ; 24(11): 103215, 2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446746


Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a life-threatening disease occurring several weeks after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Deep immune profiling showed acute MIS-C patients had highly activated neutrophils, classical monocytes and memory CD8+ T-cells, with increased frequencies of B-cell plasmablasts and double-negative B-cells. Post treatment samples from the same patients, taken during symptom resolution, identified recovery-associated immune features including increased monocyte CD163 levels, emergence of a new population of immature neutrophils and, in some patients, transiently increased plasma arginase. Plasma profiling identified multiple features shared by MIS-C, Kawasaki Disease and COVID-19 and that therapeutic inhibition of IL-6 may be preferable to IL-1 or TNF-α. We identified several potential mechanisms of action for IVIG, the most commonly used drug to treat MIS-C. Finally, we showed systemic complement activation with high plasma C5b-9 levels is common in MIS-C suggesting complement inhibitors could be used to treat the disease.