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1.
Nat Microbiol ; 7(5): 675-679, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815548

ABSTRACT

Continuously emerging variants of concern (VOCs) sustain the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron/B.1.1.529 VOC harbours multiple mutations in the spike protein associated with high infectivity and efficient evasion from humoral immunity induced by previous infection or vaccination. By performing in-depth comparisons of the SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell epitope repertoire after infection and messenger RNA vaccination, we demonstrate that spike-derived epitopes were not dominantly targeted in convalescent individuals compared to non-spike epitopes. In vaccinees, however, we detected a broader spike-specific T-cell response compared to convalescent individuals. Booster vaccination increased the breadth of the spike-specific T-cell response in convalescent individuals but not in vaccinees with complete initial vaccination. In convalescent individuals and vaccinees, the targeted T-cell epitopes were broadly conserved between wild-type SARS-CoV-2 variant B and Omicron/B.1.1.529. Hence, our data emphasize the relevance of vaccine-induced spike-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in combating VOCs including Omicron/B.1.1.529 and support the benefit of boosting convalescent individuals with mRNA vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Humans , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322709

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 spike mRNA vaccines mediate protection from severe disease as early as 10 days post prime vaccination, when specific antibodies are hardly detectable and still lack neutralizing activity. Vaccine-induced T cells, especially CD8+ T cells, may thus be the main mediators of protection at this early stage. The details of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell induction after prime/boost vaccination, their comparison to naturally induced CD8+ T cell responses and their association with other arms of vaccine-induced adaptive immunity remain, however, incompletely understood. Here, we show on a single epitope level that both, a stable memory precursor pool of spike-specific CD8+ T cells and fully functional spike-specific effector CD8+ T cell populations, are vigorously mobilized as early as one week after prime vaccination when CD4+ T cell and spike-specific antibody responses are still weak and neutralizing antibodies are lacking. Boost vaccination after 3 weeks induced a full-fledged recall expansion generating highly differentiated CD8+ effector T cells, however, neither the functional capacity nor the memory precursor T cell pool was affected. Compared to natural infection, vaccine-induced early memory T cells exhibited similar frequencies and functional capacities but a different subset distribution dominated by effector memory T cells at the expense of self-renewing and multipotent central memory T cells. Our results indicate that spike-specific CD8+ T cells may represent the major correlate of early protection after SARS-CoV-2 mRNA/bnt162b2 prime vaccination that precede other effector arms of vaccine-induced adaptive immunity and are stably maintained after boost vaccination.

3.
Nature ; 597(7875): 268-273, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328849

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 spike mRNA vaccines1-3 mediate protection from severe disease as early as ten days after prime vaccination3, when neutralizing antibodies are hardly detectable4-6. Vaccine-induced CD8+ T cells may therefore be the main mediators of protection at this early stage7,8. The details of their induction, comparison to natural infection, and association with other arms of vaccine-induced immunity remain, however, incompletely understood. Here we show on a single-epitope level that a stable and fully functional CD8+ T cell response is vigorously mobilized one week after prime vaccination with bnt162b2, when circulating CD4+ T cells and neutralizing antibodies are still weakly detectable. Boost vaccination induced a robust expansion that generated highly differentiated effector CD8+ T cells; however, neither the functional capacity nor the memory precursor T cell pool was affected. Compared with natural infection, vaccine-induced early memory T cells exhibited similar functional capacities but a different subset distribution. Our results indicate that CD8+ T cells are important effector cells, are expanded in the early protection window after prime vaccination, precede maturation of other effector arms of vaccine-induced immunity and are stably maintained after boost vaccination.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Immunologic Memory/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Time Factors
4.
Brain ; 144(4): 1263-1276, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313840

ABSTRACT

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, neurological symptoms increasingly moved into the focus of interest. In this prospective cohort study, we assessed neurological and cognitive symptoms in hospitalized coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) patients and aimed to determine their neuronal correlates. Patients with reverse transcription-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection who required inpatient treatment primarily because of non-neurological complications were screened between 20 April 2020 and 12 May 2020. Patients (age > 18 years) were included in our cohort when presenting with at least one new neurological symptom (defined as impaired gustation and/or olfaction, performance < 26 points on a Montreal Cognitive Assessment and/or pathological findings on clinical neurological examination). Patients with ≥2 new symptoms were eligible for further diagnostics using comprehensive neuropsychological tests, cerebral MRI and 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET as soon as infectivity was no longer present. Exclusion criteria were: premorbid diagnosis of cognitive impairment, neurodegenerative diseases or intensive care unit treatment. Of 41 COVID-19 inpatients screened, 29 patients (65.2 ± 14.4 years; 38% female) in the subacute stage of disease were included in the register. Most frequently, gustation and olfaction were disturbed in 29/29 and 25/29 patients, respectively. Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance was impaired in 18/26 patients (mean score 21.8/30) with emphasis on frontoparietal cognitive functions. This was confirmed by detailed neuropsychological testing in 15 patients. 18FDG PET revealed pathological results in 10/15 patients with predominant frontoparietal hypometabolism. This pattern was confirmed by comparison with a control sample using voxel-wise principal components analysis, which showed a high correlation (R2 = 0.62) with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance. Post-mortem examination of one patient revealed white matter microglia activation but no signs of neuroinflammation. Neocortical dysfunction accompanied by cognitive decline was detected in a relevant fraction of patients with subacute COVID-19 initially requiring inpatient treatment. This is of major rehabilitative and socioeconomic relevance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cerebral Cortex/metabolism , Cognitive Dysfunction/metabolism , Glucose/metabolism , Mental Status and Dementia Tests , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/psychology , Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/psychology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Positron-Emission Tomography/methods
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2133, 2021 04 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174672

ABSTRACT

Our understanding of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is still developing. We perform an observational study to investigate seroprevalence and immune responses in subjects professionally exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and their family members (155 individuals; ages 5-79 years). Seropositivity for SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein aligns with PCR results that confirm the previous infection. Anti-Spike IgG/IgM titers remain high 60 days post-infection and do not strongly associate with symptoms, except for fever. We analyze PBMCs from a subset of seropositive and seronegative adults. TLR7 agonist-activation reveals an increased population of IL-6+TNF-IL-1ß+ monocytes, while SARS-CoV-2 peptide stimulation elicits IL-33, IL-6, IFNa2, and IL-23 expression in seropositive individuals. IL-33 correlates with CD4+ T cell activation in PBMCs from convalescent subjects and is likely due to T cell-mediated effects on IL-33-producing cells. IL-33 is associated with pulmonary infection and chronic diseases like asthma and COPD, but its role in COVID-19 is unknown. Analysis of published scRNAseq data of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from patients with mild to severe COVID-19 reveals a population of IL-33-producing cells that increases with the disease. Together these findings show that IL-33 production is linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection and warrant further investigation of IL-33 in COVID-19 pathogenesis and immunity.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Interleukin-33/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Interleukin-33/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Young Adult
6.
Brain ; 144(4): 1263-1276, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169654

ABSTRACT

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, neurological symptoms increasingly moved into the focus of interest. In this prospective cohort study, we assessed neurological and cognitive symptoms in hospitalized coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) patients and aimed to determine their neuronal correlates. Patients with reverse transcription-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection who required inpatient treatment primarily because of non-neurological complications were screened between 20 April 2020 and 12 May 2020. Patients (age > 18 years) were included in our cohort when presenting with at least one new neurological symptom (defined as impaired gustation and/or olfaction, performance < 26 points on a Montreal Cognitive Assessment and/or pathological findings on clinical neurological examination). Patients with ≥2 new symptoms were eligible for further diagnostics using comprehensive neuropsychological tests, cerebral MRI and 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET as soon as infectivity was no longer present. Exclusion criteria were: premorbid diagnosis of cognitive impairment, neurodegenerative diseases or intensive care unit treatment. Of 41 COVID-19 inpatients screened, 29 patients (65.2 ± 14.4 years; 38% female) in the subacute stage of disease were included in the register. Most frequently, gustation and olfaction were disturbed in 29/29 and 25/29 patients, respectively. Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance was impaired in 18/26 patients (mean score 21.8/30) with emphasis on frontoparietal cognitive functions. This was confirmed by detailed neuropsychological testing in 15 patients. 18FDG PET revealed pathological results in 10/15 patients with predominant frontoparietal hypometabolism. This pattern was confirmed by comparison with a control sample using voxel-wise principal components analysis, which showed a high correlation (R2 = 0.62) with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance. Post-mortem examination of one patient revealed white matter microglia activation but no signs of neuroinflammation. Neocortical dysfunction accompanied by cognitive decline was detected in a relevant fraction of patients with subacute COVID-19 initially requiring inpatient treatment. This is of major rehabilitative and socioeconomic relevance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cerebral Cortex/metabolism , Cognitive Dysfunction/metabolism , Glucose/metabolism , Mental Status and Dementia Tests , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/psychology , Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/psychology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Positron-Emission Tomography/methods
7.
Nat Med ; 27(1): 78-85, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065910

ABSTRACT

Emerging data indicate that SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells targeting different viral proteins are detectable in up to 70% of convalescent individuals1-5. However, very little information is currently available about the abundance, phenotype, functional capacity and fate of pre-existing and induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell responses during the natural course of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we define a set of optimal and dominant SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell epitopes. We also perform a high-resolution ex vivo analysis of pre-existing and induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells, applying peptide-loaded major histocompatibility complex class I (pMHCI) tetramer technology. We observe rapid induction, prolonged contraction and emergence of heterogeneous and functionally competent cross-reactive and induced memory CD8+ T cell responses in cross-sectionally analyzed individuals with mild disease following SARS-CoV-2 infection and three individuals longitudinally assessed for their T cells pre- and post-SARS-CoV-2 infection. SARS-CoV-2-specific memory CD8+ T cells exhibited functional characteristics comparable to influenza-specific CD8+ T cells and were detectable in SARS-CoV-2 convalescent individuals who were seronegative for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies targeting spike (S) and nucleoprotein (N). These results define cross-reactive and induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell responses as potentially important determinants of immune protection in mild SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/blood , Case-Control Studies , Convalescence , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Cross Reactions , Cross-Sectional Studies , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Flow Cytometry , HLA-B Antigens/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Longitudinal Studies , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
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