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Front Bioeng Biotechnol ; 10: 867042, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1817928


Objectives: Evaluation of the feasibility of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell manufacturing for adoptive T cell transfer in COVID-19 patients at risk to develop severe disease. Methods: Antiviral SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detected in blood of convalescent COVID-19 patients following stimulation with PepTivator SARS-CoV-2 Select using Interferon-gamma Enzyme-Linked Immunospot (IFN-γ ELISpot), SARS-CoV-2 T Cell Analysis Kit (Whole Blood) and Cytokine Secretion Assay (CSA) and were characterized with respect to memory phenotype, activation state and cytotoxic potential by multicolor flow cytometry, quantitative real-time PCR and multiplex analyses. Clinical-grade SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell products were generated by stimulation with MACS GMP PepTivator SARS-CoV-2 Select using CliniMACS Prodigy and CliniMACS Cytokine Capture System (IFN-gamma) (CCS). Functionality of enriched T cells was investigated in cytotoxicity assays and by multiplex analysis of secreted cytotoxic molecules upon target recognition. Results: Donor screening via IFN-γ ELISpot allows for pre-selection of potential donors for generation of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells. Antiviral T cells reactive against PepTivator SARS-CoV-2 Select could be magnetically enriched from peripheral blood of convalescent COVID-19 patients by small-scale CSA resembling the clinical-grade CCS manufacturing process and showed an activated and cytotoxic T cell phenotype. Four clinical-grade SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell products were successfully generated with sufficient cell numbers and purities comparable to those observed in donor pretesting via CSA. The T cells in the generated products were shown to be capable to replicate, specifically recognize and kill target cells in vitro and secrete cytotoxic molecules upon target recognition. Cell viability, total CD3+ cell number, proliferative capacity and cytotoxic potential remained stable throughout storage of up to 72 h after end of leukapheresis. Conclusion: Clinical-grade SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells are functional, have proliferative capacity and target-specific cytotoxic potential. Their function and phenotype remain stable for several days after enrichment. The adoptive transfer of partially matched, viable human SARS-CoV-2-specific T lymphocytes collected from convalescent individuals may provide the opportunity to support the immune system of COVID-19 patients at risk for severe disease.

EBioMedicine ; 57: 102885, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-633885


BACKGROUND: Elucidating the role of T cell responses in COVID-19 is of utmost importance to understand the clearance of SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: 30 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 60 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HC) participated in this study. We used two comprehensive 11-colour flow cytometric panels conforming to Good Laboratory Practice and approved for clinical diagnostics. FINDINGS: Absolute numbers of lymphocyte subsets were differentially decreased in COVID-19 patients according to clinical severity. In severe disease (SD) patients, all lymphocyte subsets were reduced, whilst in mild disease (MD) NK, NKT and γδ T cells were at the level of HC. Additionally, we provide evidence of T cell activation in MD but not SD, when compared to HC. Follow up samples revealed a marked increase in effector T cells and memory subsets in convalescing but not in non-convalescing patients. INTERPRETATION: Our data suggest that activation and expansion of innate and adaptive lymphocytes play a major role in COVID-19. Additionally, recovery is associated with formation of T cell memory as suggested by the missing formation of effector and central memory T cells in SD but not in MD. Understanding T cell-responses in the context of clinical severity might serve as foundation to overcome the lack of effective anti-viral immune response in severely affected COVID-19 patients and can offer prognostic value as biomarker for disease outcome and control. FUNDING: Funded by State of Lower Saxony grant 14-76,103-184CORONA-11/20 and German Research Foundation, Excellence Strategy - EXC2155"RESIST"-Project ID39087428, and DFG-SFB900/3-Project ID158989968, grants SFB900-B3, SFB900-B8.

Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult