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Semin Immunol ; 55: 101545, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555774


The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused substantial morbidity and mortality to humanity. Remarkable progress has been made in understanding both the innate and adaptive mechanisms involved in the host response to the causative SARS-CoV-2 virus, but much remains to be discovered. Robust upper airway defenses are critical in restricting SARS-CoV-2 replication and propagation. Further, the nasal abundance of viral uptake receptor, ACE2, and the host epithelial transcriptional landscape, are associated with differential disease outcomes across different patient cohorts. The adaptive host response to systemic COVID-19 is heterogeneous and complex. Blunted responses to interferon and robust cytokine generation are hallmarks of the disease, particularly at the advanced stages. Excessive immune cell influx into tissues can lead to substantial collateral damage to the host akin to sepsis. This review offers a contemporary summary of these mechanisms of disease and highlights potential avenues for diagnostic and therapeutic development. These include improved disease stratification, targeting effectors of immune-mediated tissue damage, and blunting of immune cell-mediated tissue damage.

Adaptive Immunity , COVID-19 , Cytokines/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Pandemics
Immunity ; 54(11): 2650-2669.e14, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442406


Longitudinal analyses of the innate immune system, including the earliest time points, are essential to understand the immunopathogenesis and clinical course of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Here, we performed a detailed characterization of natural killer (NK) cells in 205 patients (403 samples; days 2 to 41 after symptom onset) from four independent cohorts using single-cell transcriptomics and proteomics together with functional studies. We found elevated interferon (IFN)-α plasma levels in early severe COVD-19 alongside increased NK cell expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) and genes involved in IFN-α signaling, while upregulation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced genes was observed in moderate diseases. NK cells exert anti-SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) activity but are functionally impaired in severe COVID-19. Further, NK cell dysfunction may be relevant for the development of fibrotic lung disease in severe COVID-19, as NK cells exhibited impaired anti-fibrotic activity. Our study indicates preferential IFN-α and TNF responses in severe and moderate COVID-19, respectively, and associates a prolonged IFN-α-induced NK cell response with poorer disease outcome.

COVID-19/immunology , Interferon-alpha/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , Base Sequence , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Inflammation/immunology , Interferon-alpha/blood , Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , RNA-Seq , Severity of Illness Index , Transcriptome/genetics , United Kingdom , United States
Nat Med ; 27(5): 904-916, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1195620


Analysis of human blood immune cells provides insights into the coordinated response to viral infections such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We performed single-cell transcriptome, surface proteome and T and B lymphocyte antigen receptor analyses of over 780,000 peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a cross-sectional cohort of 130 patients with varying severities of COVID-19. We identified expansion of nonclassical monocytes expressing complement transcripts (CD16+C1QA/B/C+) that sequester platelets and were predicted to replenish the alveolar macrophage pool in COVID-19. Early, uncommitted CD34+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells were primed toward megakaryopoiesis, accompanied by expanded megakaryocyte-committed progenitors and increased platelet activation. Clonally expanded CD8+ T cells and an increased ratio of CD8+ effector T cells to effector memory T cells characterized severe disease, while circulating follicular helper T cells accompanied mild disease. We observed a relative loss of IgA2 in symptomatic disease despite an overall expansion of plasmablasts and plasma cells. Our study highlights the coordinated immune response that contributes to COVID-19 pathogenesis and reveals discrete cellular components that can be targeted for therapy.

COVID-19/immunology , Proteome , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Cell Analysis/methods , Transcriptome , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Monocytes/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology