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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 883612, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875414

ABSTRACT

Plasma samples taken at different time points from donors who received either AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine were assessed in virus neutralization assays against Delta and Omicron variants of concern and a reference isolate (VIC31). With the Pfizer vaccine there was 6-8-fold reduction in 50% neutralizing antibody titres (NT50) against Delta and VIC31 at 6 months compared to 2 weeks after the second dose; followed by 25-fold increase at 2 weeks after the third dose. Neutralisation of Omicron was only consistently observed 2 weeks after the third dose, with most samples having titres below the limit of detection at earlier timepoints. Moderna results were similar to Pfizer at 2 weeks after the second dose, while the titres for AstraZeneca samples derived from older donors were 7-fold lower against VIC31 and below the limit of detection against Delta and Omicron. Age and gender were not found to significantly impact our results. These findings indicate that vaccine matching may be needed, and that at least a third dose of these vaccines is necessary to generate sufficient neutralising antibodies against emerging variants of concern, especially Omicron, amidst the challenges of ensuring vaccine equity worldwide.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Inactivated
2.
Immunity ; 2022 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867266

ABSTRACT

Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 protects from infection and improves clinical outcomes in breakthrough infections, likely reflecting residual vaccine-elicited immunity and recall of immunological memory. Here, we define the early kinetics of spike-specific humoral and cellular immunity after vaccination of seropositive individuals and after Delta or Omicron breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals. Early longitudinal sampling revealed the timing and magnitude of recall, with the phenotypic activation of B cells preceding an increase in neutralizing antibody titers. While vaccination of seropositive individuals resulted in robust recall of humoral and T cell immunity, recall of vaccine-elicited responses was delayed and variable in magnitude during breakthrough infections and depended on the infecting variant of concern. While the delayed kinetics of immune recall provides a potential mechanism for the lack of early control of viral replication, the recall of antibodies coincided with viral clearance and likely underpins the protective effects of vaccination against severe COVID-19.

3.
J Immunol ; 208(10): 2267-2271, 2022 05 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1835021

ABSTRACT

Understanding the generation of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in lymphoid tissues draining the site of infection has implications for immunity to SARS-CoV-2. We performed tonsil biopsies under local anesthesia in 19 subjects who had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection 24-225 d previously. The biopsies yielded >3 million cells for flow cytometric analysis in 17 subjects. Total and SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific germinal center B cells, and T follicular helper cells, were readily detectable in human tonsils early after SARS-CoV-2 infection, as assessed by flow cytometry. Responses were higher in samples within 2 mo of infection but still detectable in some subjects out to 7 mo following infection. We conclude the tonsils are a secondary lymphoid organ that develop germinal center responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and could play a role in the long-term development of immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Germinal Center , Humans , Palatine Tonsil , SARS-CoV-2 , T Follicular Helper Cells
4.
Nat Rev Immunol ; 22(6): 387-397, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815552

ABSTRACT

The rapid development of multiple vaccines providing strong protection from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has been a major achievement. There is now compelling evidence for the role of neutralizing antibodies in protective immunity. T cells may play a role in resolution of primary SARS-CoV-2 infection, and there is a widely expressed view that T cell-mediated immunity also plays an important role in vaccine-mediated protection. Here we discuss the role of vaccine-induced T cells in two distinct stages of infection: firstly, in protection from acquisition of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection following exposure; secondly, if infection does occur, the potential for T cells to reduce the risk of developing severe COVID-19. We describe several lines of evidence that argue against a direct impact of vaccine-induced memory T cells in preventing symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, the contribution of T cell immunity in reducing the severity of infection, particularly in infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants, remains to be determined. A detailed understanding of the role of T cells in COVID-19 is critical for next-generation vaccine design and development. Here we discuss the challenges in determining a causal relationship between vaccine-induced T cell immunity and protection from COVID-19 and propose an approach to gather the necessary evidence to clarify any role for vaccine-induced T cell memory in protection from severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans
5.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(6): 744-745, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768669
6.
Nat Immunol ; 23(5): 768-780, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1751739

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and vaccination elicit CD4+ T cell responses to the spike protein, including circulating follicular helper T (cTFH) cells that correlate with neutralizing antibodies. Using a novel HLA-DRB1*15:01/S751 tetramer to track spike-specific CD4+ T cells, we show that primary infection or vaccination induces robust S751-specific CXCR5- and cTFH cell memory responses. Secondary exposure induced recall of CD4+ T cells with a transitory CXCR3+ phenotype, and drove expansion of cTFH cells transiently expressing ICOS, CD38 and PD-1. In both contexts, cells exhibited a restricted T cell antigen receptor repertoire, including a highly public clonotype and considerable clonotypic overlap between CXCR5- and cTFH populations. Following a third vaccine dose, the rapid re-expansion of spike-specific CD4+ T cells contrasted with the comparatively delayed increase in antibody titers. Overall, we demonstrate that stable pools of cTFH and memory CD4+ T cells established by infection and/or vaccination are efficiently recalled upon antigen reexposure and may contribute to long-term protection against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Epitopes/metabolism , Humans , Receptors, CXCR5/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer
7.
Nat Immunol ; 23(2): 210-216, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625648

ABSTRACT

A proportion of patients surviving acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection develop post-acute COVID syndrome (long COVID (LC)) lasting longer than 12 weeks. Here, we studied individuals with LC compared to age- and gender-matched recovered individuals without LC, unexposed donors and individuals infected with other coronaviruses. Patients with LC had highly activated innate immune cells, lacked naive T and B cells and showed elevated expression of type I IFN (IFN-ß) and type III IFN (IFN-λ1) that remained persistently high at 8 months after infection. Using a log-linear classification model, we defined an optimal set of analytes that had the strongest association with LC among the 28 analytes measured. Combinations of the inflammatory mediators IFN-ß, PTX3, IFN-γ, IFN-λ2/3 and IL-6 associated with LC with 78.5-81.6% accuracy. This work defines immunological parameters associated with LC and suggests future opportunities for prevention and treatment.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/complications , Immunity, Innate , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , B-Lymphocytes/virology , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Cytokines/blood , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Inflammation Mediators/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/virology , Time Factors
8.
EBioMedicine ; 74: 103729, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555409

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are now being rolled out, a better understanding of immunity to the virus, whether from infection, or passive or active immunisation, and the durability of this protection is required. This will benefit from the ability to measure antibody-based protection to SARS-CoV-2, ideally with rapid turnaround and without the need for laboratory-based testing. METHODS: We have developed a lateral flow POC test that can measure levels of RBD-ACE2 neutralising antibody (NAb) from whole blood, with a result that can be determined by eye or quantitatively on a small instrument. We compared our lateral flow test with the gold-standard microneutralisation assay, using samples from convalescent and vaccinated donors, as well as immunised macaques. FINDINGS: We show a high correlation between our lateral flow test with conventional neutralisation and that this test is applicable with animal samples. We also show that this assay is readily adaptable to test for protection to newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the beta variant which revealed a marked reduction in NAb activity. Lastly, using a cohort of vaccinated humans, we demonstrate that our whole-blood test correlates closely with microneutralisation assay data (specificity 100% and sensitivity 96% at a microneutralisation cutoff of 1:40) and that fingerprick whole blood samples are sufficient for this test. INTERPRETATION: Taken together, the COVID-19 NAb-testTM device described here provides a rapid readout of NAb based protection to SARS-CoV-2 at the point of care. FUNDING: Support was received from the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program and the Australian Government Department of Health. This work was supported by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services of the Victorian State Government; the ARC (CE140100011, CE140100036), the NHMRC (1113293, 2002317 and 1116530), and Medical Research Future Fund Awards (2005544, 2002073, 2002132). Individual researchers were supported by an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Level 1 Investigator Grants (1194036), NHMRC APPRISE Research Fellowship (1116530), NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant (1173871), NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (1137285), NHMRC Investigator Grants (1177174 and 1174555) and NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowships (1117766 and 1136322). Grateful support was also received from the A2 Milk Company and the Jack Ma Foundation.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/immunology , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Australia , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Macaca/immunology , Neutralization Tests , Vaccination
9.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(4): 429-430, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537192
10.
Lancet Microbe ; 3(1): e52-e61, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517553

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern have been identified that partly escape serum neutralisation elicited by current vaccines. Studies have also shown that vaccines demonstrate reduced protection against symptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants. We explored whether in-vitro neutralisation titres remain predictive of vaccine protection from infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants. METHODS: In this meta-analysis, we analysed published data from 24 identified studies on in-vitro neutralisation and clinical protection to understand the loss of neutralisation to existing SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. We integrated the results of this analysis into our existing statistical model relating in-vitro neutralisation to protection (parameterised on data from ancestral virus infection) to estimate vaccine efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 variants. We also analysed data on boosting of vaccine responses and use the model to predict the impact of booster vaccination on protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants. FINDINGS: The neutralising activity against the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 was highly predictive of neutralisation of variants of concern. Decreases in neutralisation titre to the alpha (1·6-fold), beta (8·8-fold), gamma (3·5-fold), and delta (3·9-fold) variants (compared to the ancestral virus) were not significantly different between different vaccines. Neutralisation remained strongly correlated with protection from symptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (r S=0·81, p=0·0005) and the existing model remained predictive of vaccine efficacy against variants of concern once decreases in neutralisation to the variants of concern were incorporated. Modelling of predicted vaccine efficacy against variants over time suggested that protection against symptomatic infection might decrease below 50% within the first year after vaccination for some vaccines. Boosting of previously infected individuals with existing vaccines (which target ancestral virus) is predicted to provide a higher degree of protection from infection with variants of concern than primary vaccination schedules alone. INTERPRETATION: In-vitro neutralisation titres remain a correlate of protection from SARS-CoV-2 variants and modelling of the effects of waning immunity predicts a loss of protection to the variants after vaccination. However, booster vaccination with current vaccines should enable higher neutralisation to SARS-CoV-2 variants than is achieved with primary vaccination, which is predicted to provide robust protection from severe infection outcomes with the current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, at least in the medium term. FUNDING: The National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), the Medical Research Future Fund (Australia), and the Victorian Government.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
11.
Nat Med ; 27(11): 1874-1875, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1514419
12.
J Leukoc Biol ; 111(2): 355-365, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1499281

ABSTRACT

Vaccination remains the most effective mechanism to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Induction of neutralizing antibodies is a strong correlate of protection from infection and severe disease. An understanding of the cellular events that underpin the generation of effective neutralizing antibodies is therefore key to the development of efficacious vaccines that target emerging variants of concern. Analysis of the immune response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and vaccination has identified circulating T follicular helper cells (cTFH ) as a robust correlate of the neutralizing antibody response. Here, we discuss the analysis of cTFH cells and their lymphoid counterparts in human humoral immune responses during COVID-19, and in response to vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 spike. We discuss the phenotypic heterogeneity of cTFH cells and the utility of cTFH subsets as informative biomarkers for development of humoral immunity. We posit that the analysis of the most effective cTFH will be critical to inducing durable immunity to new variants of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T Follicular Helper Cells/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Humans
13.
Clin Transl Immunology ; 10(11): e1354, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487459

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted by aerosols, and the ocular surface may be an important route of transmission. Little is known about protective antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in tears after infection or vaccination. We analysed the SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG and IgA responses in human tears after either COVID-19 infection or vaccination. METHODS: We measured the antibody responses in 16 subjects with COVID-19 infection for an average of 7 months before, and 15 subjects before and 2 weeks post-Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNtech) vaccination. Plasma, saliva and basal tears were collected. Eleven pre-pandemic individuals were included as healthy controls. RESULTS: IgG antibodies to spike and nucleoprotein were detected in tears, saliva and plasma from subjects with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in comparison with uninfected controls. While receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific antibodies were detected in plasma, minimal RBD-specific antibodies were detected in tears and saliva. By contrast, high levels of IgG antibodies to spike and RBD, but not nucleoprotein, were induced in tears, saliva and plasma of subjects receiving 2 doses of the Comirnaty vaccine. Increased levels of IgA1 and IgA2 antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 antigens were detected in plasma following infection or vaccination but were unchanged in tears and saliva. Comirnaty vaccination induced high neutralising Abs in the plasma, but limited neutralising antibodies were detected in saliva or tears. CONCLUSION: Both infection and vaccination induce SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibodies in tears. RBD-specific IgG antibodies in tears were induced by vaccination but were not present 7 months post-infection. This suggests the neutralising antibodies may be low in the tears late following infection.

14.
Trends Immunol ; 42(11): 956-959, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440136

ABSTRACT

Reformulating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines with variant strains is being pursued to combat the global surge in infections. We hypothesize that this may be suboptimal due to immune imprinting from earlier vaccination or infection with the original SARS-CoV-2 strain. New strategies may be needed to improve efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 variant vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Cell Rep ; 37(2): 109822, 2021 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433046

ABSTRACT

Potent neutralizing monoclonal antibodies are one of the few agents currently available to treat COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) that carry multiple mutations in the viral spike protein can exhibit neutralization resistance, potentially affecting the effectiveness of some antibody-based therapeutics. Here, the generation of a diverse panel of 91 human, neutralizing monoclonal antibodies provides an in-depth structural and phenotypic definition of receptor binding domain (RBD) antigenic sites on the viral spike. These RBD antibodies ameliorate SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamster models in a dose-dependent manner and in proportion to in vitro, neutralizing potency. Assessing the effect of mutations in the spike protein on antibody recognition and neutralization highlights both potent single antibodies and stereotypic classes of antibodies that are unaffected by currently circulating VOCs, such as B.1.351 and P.1. These neutralizing monoclonal antibodies and others that bind analogous epitopes represent potentially useful future anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/ultrastructure , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/ultrastructure , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetinae , Cryoelectron Microscopy/methods , Epitopes/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding/physiology , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
17.
Adv Healthc Mater ; 10(10): e2002142, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384090

ABSTRACT

Despite remarkable successes of immunization in protecting public health, safe and effective vaccines against a number of life-threatening pathogens such as HIV, ebola, influenza, and SARS-CoV-2 remain urgently needed. Subunit vaccines can avoid potential toxicity associated with traditional whole virion-inactivated and live-attenuated vaccines; however, the immunogenicity of subunit vaccines is often poor. A facile method is here reported to produce lipid nanoparticle subunit vaccines that exhibit high immunogenicity and elicit protection against influenza virus. Influenza hemagglutinin (HA) immunogens are functionalized on the surface of liposomes via stable metal chelation chemistry, using a scalable advanced microfluidic mixing technology (NanoAssemblr). Immunization of mice with HA-liposomes elicits increased serum antibody titers and superior protection against highly pathogenic virus challenge compared with free HA protein. HA-liposomal vaccines display enhanced antigen deposition into germinal centers within the draining lymph nodes, driving increased HA-specific B cell, and follicular helper T cell responses. This work provides mechanistic insights into highly protective HA-liposome vaccines and informs the rational design and rapid production of next generation nanoparticle subunit vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Orthomyxoviridae Infections , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , Germinal Center , Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus , Hemagglutinins , Humans , Liposomes , Mice , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer
18.
J Biol Chem ; 297(3): 101065, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347684

ABSTRACT

CD8+ T cells play an important role in vaccination and immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Although numerous SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T cell epitopes have been identified, the molecular basis underpinning T cell receptor (TCR) recognition of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells remains unknown. The T cell response directed toward SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-derived S269-277 peptide presented by the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A∗02:01 allomorph (hereafter the HLA-A2S269-277 epitope) is, to date, the most immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 epitope found in individuals bearing this allele. As HLA-A2S269-277-specific CD8+ T cells utilize biased TRAV12 gene usage within the TCR α-chain, we sought to understand the molecular basis underpinning this TRAV12 dominance. We expressed four TRAV12+ TCRs which bound the HLA-A2S269-277 complex with low micromolar affinity and determined the crystal structure of the HLA-A2S269-277 binary complex, and subsequently a ternary structure of the TRAV12+ TCR complexed to HLA-A2S269-277. We found that the TCR made extensive contacts along the entire length of the S269-277 peptide, suggesting that the TRAV12+ TCRs would be sensitive to sequence variation within this epitope. To examine this, we investigated cross-reactivity toward analogous peptides from existing SARS-CoV-2 variants and closely related coronaviruses. We show via surface plasmon resonance and tetramer studies that the TRAV12+ T cell repertoire cross-reacts poorly with these analogous epitopes. Overall, we defined the structural basis underpinning biased TCR recognition of CD8+ T cells directed at an immunodominant epitope and provide a framework for understanding TCR cross-reactivity toward viral variants within the S269-277 peptide.


Subject(s)
Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , HLA-A2 Antigen/metabolism , Immunodominant Epitopes/metabolism , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Humans , Protein Conformation , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/chemistry
19.
JCI Insight ; 6(16)2021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305530

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) is both the principal target of neutralizing antibodies and one of the most rapidly evolving domains, which can result in the emergence of immune escape mutations, limiting the effectiveness of vaccines and antibody therapeutics. To facilitate surveillance, we developed a rapid, high-throughput, multiplex assay able to assess the inhibitory response of antibodies to 24 RBD natural variants simultaneously. We demonstrate how this assay can be implemented as a rapid surrogate assay for functional cell-based serological methods to measure the SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing capacity of antibodies at the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2-RBD (ACE2-RBD) interface. We describe the enhanced affinity of RBD variants N439K, S477N, Q493L, S494P, and N501Y to the ACE2 receptor and demonstrate the ability of this assay to bridge a major gap for SARS-CoV-2 research, informing selection of complementary monoclonal antibody candidates and the rapid identification of immune escape to emerging RBD variants following vaccination or natural infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation
20.
Immunol Cell Biol ; 99(9): 990-1000, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258941

ABSTRACT

In-depth understanding of human T-cell-mediated immunity in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is needed if we are to optimize vaccine strategies and immunotherapies. Identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) T-cell epitopes and generation of peptide-human leukocyte antigen (peptide-HLA) tetramers facilitate direct ex vivo analyses of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and their T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoires. We utilized a combination of peptide prediction and in vitro peptide stimulation to validate novel SARS-CoV-2 epitopes restricted by HLA-A*24:02, one of the most prominent HLA class I alleles, especially in Indigenous and Asian populations. Of the peptides screened, three spike-derived peptides generated CD8+ IFNγ+ responses above background, S1208-1216 (QYIKWPWYI), S448-456 (NYNYLYRLF) and S193-201 (VFKNIDGYF), with S1208 generating immunodominant CD8+ IFNγ+ responses. Using peptide-HLA-I tetramers, we performed direct ex vivo tetramer enrichment for HLA-A*24:02-restricted CD8+ T cells in COVID-19 patients and prepandemic controls. The precursor frequencies for HLA-A*24:02-restricted epitopes were within the range previously observed for other SARS-CoV-2 epitopes for both COVID-19 patients and prepandemic individuals. Naïve A24/SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells increased nearly 7.5-fold above the average precursor frequency during COVID-19, gaining effector and memory phenotypes. Ex vivo single-cell analyses of TCRαß repertoires found that the A24/S448 + CD8+ T-cell TCRαß repertoire was driven by a common TCRß chain motif, whereas the A24/S1208 + CD8+ TCRαß repertoire was diverse across COVID-19 patients. Our study provides an in depth characterization and important insights into SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell responses associated with a prominent HLA-A*24:02 allomorph. This contributes to our knowledge on adaptive immune responses during primary COVID-19 and could be exploited in vaccine or immunotherapeutic approaches.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , HLA-A24 Antigen , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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