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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314098


​​Since its recent zoonotic spill-over severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is constantly adapting to the human host as illustrated by the emergence of variants of concern with increased transmissibility and immune evasion. Prolonged replication in immunosuppressed individuals and evasion from spike-specific antibodies is known to drive intra-host SARS-CoV-2 evolution. Here we show for the first time the major role of CD8 T cells in SARS-CoV-2 evolution. In a patient with chronic, ultimately fatal infection, we observed three spike mutations that prevented neutralisation by convalescent plasma therapy. Moreover, at least four mutations in non-spike proteins emerged that hampered CD8 T-cell recognition of mutant epitopes, two of these occurred before spike mutations. A comparison with worldwide sequencing data showed that several of these T-cell escape mutations had emerged independently as homoplasies in multiple circulating lineages. We propose that human leukocyte antigen class I contributes to shaping the evolutionary landscape of SARS-CoV-2.

Hemasphere ; 5(7): e603, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301392


The clinical and immunological impact of B-cell depletion in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is unclear. We conducted a prospectively planned analysis of COVID-19 in patients who received B-cell depleting anti-CD20 antibodies and chemotherapy for B-cell lymphomas. The control cohort consisted of age- and sex-matched patients without lymphoma who were hospitalized because of COVID-19. We performed detailed clinical analyses, in-depth cellular and molecular immune profiling, and comprehensive virological studies in 12 patients with available biospecimens. B-cell depleted lymphoma patients had more severe and protracted clinical course (median hospitalization 88 versus 17 d). All patients actively receiving immunochemotherapy (n = 5) required ICU support including long-term mechanical ventilation. Neutrophil recovery following granulocyte colony stimulating factor stimulation coincided with hyperinflammation and clinical deterioration in 4 of the 5 patients. Immune cell profiling and gene expression analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells revealed early activation of monocytes/macrophages, neutrophils, and the complement system in B-cell depleted lymphoma patients, with subsequent exacerbation of the inflammatory response and dysfunctional interferon signaling at the time of clinical deterioration of COVID-19. Longitudinal immune cell profiling and functional in vitro assays showed SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-effector cell responses. Finally, we observed long-term detection of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory specimens (median 84 versus 12 d) and an inability to mount lasting SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in B-cell depleted lymphoma patients. In summary, we identified clinically relevant particularities of COVID-19 in lymphoma patients receiving B-cell depleting immunochemotherapies.