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JCI Insight ; 7(10)2022 05 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1794308


BACKGROUNDMeasuring the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 enables assessment of past infection and protective immunity. SARS-CoV-2 infection induces humoral and T cell responses, but these responses vary with disease severity and individual characteristics.METHODSA T cell receptor (TCR) immunosequencing assay was conducted using small-volume blood samples from 302 individuals recovered from COVID-19. Correlations between the magnitude of the T cell response and neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers or indicators of disease severity were evaluated. Sensitivity of T cell testing was assessed and compared with serologic testing.RESULTSSARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses were significantly correlated with nAb titers and clinical indicators of disease severity, including hospitalization, fever, and difficulty breathing. Despite modest declines in depth and breadth of T cell responses during convalescence, high sensitivity was observed until at least 6 months after infection, with overall sensitivity ~5% greater than serology tests for identifying prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Improved performance of T cell testing was most apparent in recovered, nonhospitalized individuals sampled > 150 days after initial illness, suggesting greater sensitivity than serology at later time points and in individuals with less severe disease. T cell testing identified SARS-CoV-2 infection in 68% (55 of 81) of samples with undetectable nAb titers (<1:40) and in 37% (13 of 35) of samples classified as negative by 3 antibody assays.CONCLUSIONThese results support TCR-based testing as a scalable, reliable measure of past SARS-CoV-2 infection with clinical value beyond serology.TRIAL REGISTRATIONSpecimens were accrued under trial NCT04338360 accessible at work was funded by Adaptive Biotechnologies, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, NIAID, Fred Hutchinson Joel Meyers Endowment, Fast Grants, and American Society for Transplantation and Cell Therapy.

COVID-19 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , United States
JCI Insight ; 7(10)2022 05 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1794307


T cells play a prominent role in orchestrating the immune response to viral diseases, but their role in the clinical presentation and subsequent immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection remains poorly understood. As part of a population-based survey of the municipality of Vo', Italy, conducted after the initial SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, we sampled the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires of the population 2 months after the initial PCR survey and followed up positive cases 9 and 15 months later. At 2 months, we found that 97.0% (98 of 101) of cases had elevated levels of TCRs associated with SARS-CoV-2. T cell frequency (depth) was increased in individuals with more severe disease. Both depth and diversity (breadth) of the TCR repertoire were positively associated with neutralizing antibody titers, driven mostly by CD4+ T cells directed against spike protein. At the later time points, detection of these TCRs remained high, with 90.7% (78 of 96) and 86.2% (25 of 29) of individuals having detectable signal at 9 and 15 months, respectively. Forty-three individuals were vaccinated by month 15 and showed a significant increase in TCRs directed against spike protein. Taken together, these results demonstrate the central role of T cells in mounting an immune defense against SARS-CoV-2 that persists out to 15 months.

COVID-19 , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Humans , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
[Unspecified Source]; 2020.
Preprint in English | [Unspecified Source] | ID: ppcovidwho-292804


T cells are involved in the early identification and clearance of viral infections and also support the development of antibodies by B cells. This central role for T cells makes them a desirable target for assessing the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we combined two high-throughput immune profiling methods to create a quantitative picture of the T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2. First, at the individual level, we deeply characterized 3 acutely infected and 58 recovered COVID-19 subjects by experimentally mapping their CD8 T-cell response through antigen stimulation to 545 Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) class I presented viral peptides (class II data in a forthcoming study). Then, at the population level, we performed T-cell repertoire sequencing on 1,015 samples (from 827 COVID-19 subjects) as well as 3,500 controls to identify shared "public" T-cell receptors (TCRs) associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection from both CD8 and CD4 T cells. Collectively, our data reveal that CD8 T-cell responses are often driven by a few immunodominant, HLA-restricted epitopes. As expected, the T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2 peaks about one to two weeks after infection and is detectable for several months after recovery. As an application of these data, we trained a classifier to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection based solely on TCR sequencing from blood samples, and observed, at 99.8% specificity, high early sensitivity soon after diagnosis (Day 3-7 = 83.8% [95% CI = 77.6-89.4];Day 8-14 = 92.4% [87.6-96.6]) as well as lasting sensitivity after recovery (Day 29+/convalescent = 96.7% [93.0-99.2]). These results demonstrate an approach to reliably assess the adaptive immune response both soon after viral antigenic exposure (before antibodies are typically detectable) as well as at later time points. This blood-based molecular approach to characterizing the cellular immune response has applications in vaccine development as well as clinical diagnostics and monitoring.