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Nat Immunol ; 2022 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2284754


CD4+ T cells are essential for protection against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The sensitivity of CD4+ T cells to mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) is poorly understood. Here, we isolated 159 SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cell clones from healthcare workers previously infected with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (D614G) and defined 21 epitopes in spike, membrane and nucleoprotein. Lack of CD4+ T cell cross-reactivity between SARS-CoV-2 and endemic beta-coronaviruses suggested these responses arose from naïve rather than pre-existing cross-reactive coronavirus-specific T cells. Of the 17 epitopes located in the spike protein, 10 were mutated in VOCs and CD4+ T cell clone recognition of 7 of them was impaired, including 3 of the 4 epitopes mutated in omicron. Our results indicated that broad targeting of epitopes by CD4+ T cells likely limits evasion by current VOCs. However, continued genomic surveillance is vital to identify new mutations able to evade CD4+ T cell immunity.

Clin Exp Immunol ; 207(1): 3-10, 2022 01 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621554


B-cell-depleting agents are among the most commonly used drugs to treat haemato-oncological and autoimmune diseases. They rapidly induce a state of peripheral B-cell aplasia with the potential to interfere with nascent vaccine responses, particularly to novel antigens. We have examined the relationship between B-cell reconstitution and SARS-CoV-2 vaccine responses in two cohorts of patients previously exposed to B-cell-depleting agents: a cohort of patients treated for haematological B-cell malignancy and another treated for rheumatological disease. B-cell depletion severely impairs vaccine responsiveness in the first 6 months after administration: SARS-CoV-2 antibody seroprevalence was 42.2% and 33.3% in the haemato-oncological patients and rheumatology patients, respectively and 22.7% in patients vaccinated while actively receiving anti-lymphoma chemotherapy. After the first 6 months, vaccine responsiveness significantly improved during early B-cell reconstitution; however, the kinetics of reconstitution was significantly faster in haemato-oncology patients. The AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and the Pfizer BioNTech 162b vaccine induced equivalent vaccine responses; however, shorter intervals between vaccine doses (<1 m) improved the magnitude of the antibody response in haeamto-oncology patients. In a subgroup of haemato-oncology patients, with historic exposure to B-cell-depleting agents (>36 m previously), vaccine non-responsiveness was independent of peripheral B-cell reconstitution. The findings have important implications for primary vaccination and booster vaccination strategies in individuals clinically vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 , Rheumatic Diseases , COVID-19 Vaccines , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Humans , Rheumatic Diseases/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies