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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
Nature ; 596(7872): 410-416, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305364


The emergency use authorization of two mRNA vaccines in less than a year from the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 represents a landmark in vaccinology1,2. Yet, how mRNA vaccines stimulate the immune system to elicit protective immune responses is unknown. Here we used a systems vaccinology approach to comprehensively profile the innate and adaptive immune responses of 56 healthy volunteers who were vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2). Vaccination resulted in the robust production of neutralizing antibodies against the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (derived from 2019-nCOV/USA_WA1/2020) and, to a lesser extent, the B.1.351 strain, as well as significant increases in antigen-specific polyfunctional CD4 and CD8 T cells after the second dose. Booster vaccination stimulated a notably enhanced innate immune response as compared to primary vaccination, evidenced by (1) a greater frequency of CD14+CD16+ inflammatory monocytes; (2) a higher concentration of plasma IFNγ; and (3) a transcriptional signature of innate antiviral immunity. Consistent with these observations, our single-cell transcriptomics analysis demonstrated an approximately 100-fold increase in the frequency of a myeloid cell cluster enriched in interferon-response transcription factors and reduced in AP-1 transcription factors, after secondary immunization. Finally, we identified distinct innate pathways associated with CD8 T cell and neutralizing antibody responses, and show that a monocyte-related signature correlates with the neutralizing antibody response against the B.1.351 variant. Collectively, these data provide insights into the immune responses induced by mRNA vaccination and demonstrate its capacity to prime the innate immune system to mount a more potent response after booster immunization.

Adaptive Immunity , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccinology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Female , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Male , Middle Aged , Single-Cell Analysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Transcription, Genetic , Transcriptome/genetics , Young Adult
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1931, 2021 03 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152851


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on societies and economies worldwide. There remains an ongoing need for high-performance SARS-CoV-2 tests which may be broadly deployed for infection monitoring. Here we report a highly sensitive single molecule array (Simoa) immunoassay in development for detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N-protein) in venous and capillary blood and saliva. In all matrices in the studies conducted to date we observe >98% negative percent agreement and >90% positive percent agreement with molecular testing for days 1-7 in symptomatic, asymptomatic, and pre-symptomatic PCR+ individuals. N-protein load decreases as anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike-IgG increases, and N-protein levels correlate with RT-PCR Ct-values in saliva, and between matched saliva and capillary blood samples. This Simoa SARS-CoV-2 N-protein assay effectively detects SARS-CoV-2 infection via measurement of antigen levels in blood or saliva, using non-invasive, swab-independent collection methods, offering potential for at home and point of care sample collection.

COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/blood , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Saliva/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Epidemics , Home Care Services , Humans , Point-of-Care Systems , ROC Curve , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Specimen Handling/methods