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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2774, 2022 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900484

ABSTRACT

Respiratory tract infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in varying immunopathology underlying COVID-19. We examine cellular, humoral and cytokine responses covering 382 immune components in longitudinal blood and respiratory samples from hospitalized COVID-19 patients. SARS-CoV-2-specific IgM, IgG, IgA are detected in respiratory tract and blood, however, receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific IgM and IgG seroconversion is enhanced in respiratory specimens. SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity in respiratory samples correlates with RBD-specific IgM and IgG levels. Cytokines/chemokines vary between respiratory samples and plasma, indicating that inflammation should be assessed in respiratory specimens to understand immunopathology. IFN-α2 and IL-12p70 in endotracheal aspirate and neutralization in sputum negatively correlate with duration of hospital stay. Diverse immune subsets are detected in respiratory samples, dominated by neutrophils. Importantly, dexamethasone treatment does not affect humoral responses in blood of COVID-19 patients. Our study unveils differential immune responses between respiratory samples and blood, and shows how drug therapy affects immune responses during COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Immunity , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Respiratory System , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317943

ABSTRACT

T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2-derived peptide pools have been documented, however it remains largely unclear whether prominent SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell populations originate from naïve or pre-existing memory sets. As HLA-B*07:02-restricted N105-113 epitope (B7/N105) is the most dominant SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T-cell specificity to date, we dissected CD8+ T-cell responses directed at this epitope by direct ex vivo analyses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from acute and convalescent COVID-19 patients, and pre-pandemic PBMCs, tonsils, lungs and spleens. Using peptide-HLA tetramers, immunodominant B7/N105+CD8+ T-cells were detected at a high frequency (∼2.18x10-4) in COVID-19 patients, comparable to the well-established influenza-specific A2/M158+CD8+ T-cell population. Remarkably, frequencies of B7/N105+CD8+ T-cells were also readily detectable in pre-pandemic PBMCs and tonsils (at 6.55x10-5 and 2.76x10-4, respectively), although they mainly displayed a naïve phenotype, indicating a lack of previous cross-reactive exposures. Ex vivo TCRαβ analyses revealed that a diverse TCRαβ repertoire and promiscuity in αβ TCR pairing underlie such high naïve precursor frequencies of B7/N105+CD8+ T-cells. Overall, our study demonstrates that high precursor frequency and plasticity of TCRα-TCRβ pairing underpin immunodominance of SARS-CoV-2-specific B7/N105+CD8+ T-cell responses and advocates for vaccine strategies which include the nucleocapsid protein to elicit immunodominant CD8+ T-cell responses in HLA-B*07:02 individuals.Funding: This work was supported by theClifford Craig Foundation to KLF and KK, NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant to KK (1173871), NHMRC Program Grant to DLD (#1132975), Research Grants Council of theHong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (#T11-712/19-N) to KK, the Victorian Government (SJK, AKW), MRFF award (#2002073) to SJK and AKW, MRFFAward (#1202445) to KK, NHMRC program grant 1149990 (SJK) and NHMRC project grant 1162760 (AKW). AKW is supported by Emerging Leadership 1 Investigator Grant (#1173433), JAJ by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (ECF) (#1123673), KK by NHMRC SeniorResearch Fellowship (1102792), DLD by a NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship(#1137285) and SJK by NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship (#1136322). CES has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement (#792532). JR is supported by an ARC Laureate fellowship. JRH and WZ are supported by the Melbourne Research Scholarship from The University of Melbourne. LH is supported by the Melbourne International Research Scholarship (MIRS) and the Melbourne International Fee Remission Scholarship (MIFRS) from The University of Melbourne.Ethical Approval: Experiments conformed to the Declaration of Helsinki Principles and theAustralian National Health and Medical Research Council Code of Practice. Written informed consents were obtained from all blood donors prior to the study. Lung and spleen tissues were obtained from deceased organ donors after written informed consents from the next of kin.Written informed consents were obtained from participants’ parental or guardians for underage tonsil tissue donors. The study was approved by the Alfred Hospital (#280/14), Austin Health (HREC/63201/Austin-2020);the University of Melbourne (#2057366.1, #2056901.1,#2056689, #2056761, #1442952, #1955465, and #1443389), the Australian Red CrossLifeblood (ID 2015#8), the Tasmanian Health and Medical (ID H0017479) and the James Cook University (H7886) Human Research Ethics Committees.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313938

ABSTRACT

Although pregnancy poses a greater risk for severe COVID-19, the underlying immunological changes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy are poorly understood. We defined immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in pregnant and non-pregnant women during acute and convalescent COVID-19 up to 258 days post symptom onset, quantifying 217 immunological parameters. Additionally, matched maternal and cord blood were collected from COVID-19 convalescent pregnancies. Although serological responses to SARS-CoV-2 were similar in pregnant and non-pregnant women, cellular immune analyses revealed marked differences in key NK cell and unconventional T cell responses during COVID-19 in pregnant women. While NK, γδ T cells and MAIT cells displayed pre-activated phenotypes in healthy pregnant women when compared to non-pregnant age-matched women, activation profiles of these pre-activated NK and unconventional T cells remained unchanged at acute and convalescent COVID-19 in pregnancy. Conversely, activation dynamics of NK and unconventional T cells were prototypical in non-pregnant women in COVID-19. In contrast, activation of αβ CD4 + and CD8 + T cells, T follicular helper cells and antibody-secreting cells was similar in pregnant and non-pregnant women with COVID-19. Elevated levels of IL-1β, IFN-γ, IL-8, IL-18 and IL-33 were also found in pregnant women in their healthy state, and these cytokine levels remained elevated during acute and convalescent COVID-19. Collectively, our study provides the first comprehensive map of longitudinal immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women, providing insights into patient management and education during COVID-19 pregnancy.

5.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(10): 1383-1394, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621119

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Given the scale of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the development of vaccines based on different platforms is essential, particularly in light of emerging viral variants, the absence of information on vaccine-induced immune durability, and potential paediatric use. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of an MF59-adjuvanted subunit vaccine for COVID-19 based on recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein stabilised in a pre-fusion conformation by a novel molecular clamp (spike glycoprotein-clamp [sclamp]). METHODS: We did a phase 1, double-blind, placebo-controlled, block-randomised trial of the sclamp subunit vaccine in a single clinical trial site in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Healthy adults (aged ≥18 to ≤55 years) who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, reported no close contact with anyone with active or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and tested negative for pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity were included. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups and received two doses via intramuscular injection 28 days apart of either placebo, sclamp vaccine at 5 µg, 15 µg, or 45 µg, or one dose of sclamp vaccine at 45 µg followed by placebo. Participants and study personnel, except the dose administration personnel, were masked to treatment. The primary safety endpoints included solicited local and systemic adverse events in the 7 days after each dose and unsolicited adverse events up to 12 months after dosing. Here, data are reported up until day 57. Primary immunogenicity endpoints were antigen-specific IgG ELISA and SARS-CoV-2 microneutralisation assays assessed at 28 days after each dose. The study is ongoing and registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04495933. FINDINGS: Between June 23, 2020, and Aug 17, 2020, of 314 healthy volunteers screened, 120 were randomly assigned (n=24 per group), and 114 (95%) completed the study up to day 57 (mean age 32·5 years [SD 10·4], 65 [54%] male, 55 [46%] female). Severe solicited reactions were infrequent and occurred at similar rates in participants receiving placebo (two [8%] of 24) and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose (three [3%] of 96). Both solicited reactions and unsolicited adverse events occurred at a similar frequency in participants receiving placebo and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine. Solicited reactions occurred in 19 (79%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 86 (90%) of 96 receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Unsolicited adverse events occurred in seven (29%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 35 (36%) of 96 participants receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 sclamp elicited a similar antigen-specific response irrespective of dose: 4 weeks after the initial dose (day 29) with 5 µg dose (geometric mean titre [GMT] 6400, 95% CI 3683-11 122), with 15 µg dose (7492, 4959-11 319), and the two 45 µg dose cohorts (8770, 5526-13 920 in the two-dose 45 µg cohort; 8793, 5570-13 881 in the single-dose 45 µg cohort); 4 weeks after the second dose (day 57) with two 5 µg doses (102 400, 64 857-161 676), with two 15 µg doses (74 725, 51 300-108 847), with two 45 µg doses (79 586, 55 430-114 268), only a single 45 µg dose (4795, 2858-8043). At day 57, 67 (99%) of 68 participants who received two doses of sclamp vaccine at any concentration produced a neutralising immune response, compared with six (25%) of 24 who received a single 45 µg dose and none of 22 who received placebo. Participants receiving two doses of sclamp vaccine elicited similar neutralisation titres, irrespective of dose: two 5 µg doses (GMT 228, 95% CI 146-356), two 15 µg doses (230, 170-312), and two 45 µg doses (239, 187-307). INTERPRETATION: This first-in-human trial shows that a subunit vaccine comprising mammalian cell culture-derived, MF59-adjuvanted, molecular clamp-stabilised recombinant spike protein elicits strong immune responses with a promising safety profile. However, the glycoprotein 41 peptide present in the clamp created HIV diagnostic assay interference, a possible barrier to widespread use highlighting the criticality of potential non-spike directed immunogenicity during vaccine development. Studies are ongoing with alternative molecular clamp trimerisation domains to ameliorate this response. FUNDING: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, National Health and Medical Research Council, Queensland Government, and further philanthropic sources listed in the acknowledgments.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Squalene/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Australia , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Polysorbates , Vaccination/adverse effects , Young Adult
6.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(9): ofab359, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405048

ABSTRACT

We describe severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific immune responses in a patient with lymphoma and recent programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor therapy with late onset of severe coronavirus disease 2019 disease and prolonged SARS-CoV-2 replication, in comparison to age-matched and immunocompromised controls. High levels of HLA-DR+/CD38+ activation, interleukin 6, and interleukin 18 in the absence of B cells and PD-1 expression was observed. SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses were absent and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were minimally detected. This case highlights challenges in managing immunocompromised hosts who may fail to mount effective virus-specific immune responses.

7.
Immunity ; 54(5): 1066-1082.e5, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1216346

ABSTRACT

To better understand primary and recall T cell responses during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is important to examine unmanipulated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T cells. By using peptide-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tetramers for direct ex vivo analysis, we characterized CD8+ T cells specific for SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in COVID-19 patients and unexposed individuals. Unlike CD8+ T cells directed toward subdominant epitopes (B7/N257, A2/S269, and A24/S1,208) CD8+ T cells specific for the immunodominant B7/N105 epitope were detected at high frequencies in pre-pandemic samples and at increased frequencies during acute COVID-19 and convalescence. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells in pre-pandemic samples from children, adults, and elderly individuals predominantly displayed a naive phenotype, indicating a lack of previous cross-reactive exposures. T cell receptor (TCR) analyses revealed diverse TCRαß repertoires and promiscuous αß-TCR pairing within B7/N105+CD8+ T cells. Our study demonstrates high naive precursor frequency and TCRαß diversity within immunodominant B7/N105-specific CD8+ T cells and provides insight into SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell origins and subsequent responses.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Amino Acid Motifs , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Child , Convalescence , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
8.
Clin Transl Immunology ; 10(3): e1258, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1107626

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: As the world transitions into a new era of the COVID-19 pandemic in which vaccines become available, there is an increasing demand for rapid reliable serological testing to identify individuals with levels of immunity considered protective by infection or vaccination. METHODS: We used 34 SARS-CoV-2 samples to perform a rapid surrogate virus neutralisation test (sVNT), applicable to many laboratories as it circumvents the need for biosafety level-3 containment. We correlated results from the sVNT with five additional commonly used SARS-CoV-2 serology techniques: the microneutralisation test (MNT), in-house ELISAs, commercial Euroimmun- and Wantai-based ELISAs (RBD, spike and nucleoprotein; IgG, IgA and IgM), antigen-binding avidity, and high-throughput multiplex analyses to profile isotype, subclass and Fc effector binding potential. We correlated antibody levels with antibody-secreting cell (ASC) and circulatory T follicular helper (cTfh) cell numbers. RESULTS: Antibody data obtained with commercial ELISAs closely reflected results using in-house ELISAs against RBD and spike. A correlation matrix across ten measured ELISA parameters revealed positive correlations for all factors. The frequency of inhibition by rapid sVNT strongly correlated with spike-specific IgG and IgA titres detected by both commercial and in-house ELISAs, and MNT titres. Multiplex analyses revealed strongest correlations between IgG, IgG1, FcR and C1q specific to spike and RBD. Acute cTfh-type 1 cell numbers correlated with spike and RBD-specific IgG antibodies measured by ELISAs and sVNT. CONCLUSION: Our comprehensive analyses provide important insights into SARS-CoV-2 humoral immunity across distinct serology assays and their applicability for specific research and/or diagnostic questions to assess SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral responses.

9.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(3): 100208, 2021 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065663

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 causes a spectrum of COVID-19 disease, the immunological basis of which remains ill defined. We analyzed 85 SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals at acute and/or convalescent time points, up to 102 days after symptom onset, quantifying 184 immunological parameters. Acute COVID-19 presented with high levels of IL-6, IL-18, and IL-10 and broad activation marked by the upregulation of CD38 on innate and adaptive lymphocytes and myeloid cells. Importantly, activated CXCR3+cTFH1 cells in acute COVID-19 significantly correlate with and predict antibody levels and their avidity at convalescence as well as acute neutralization activity. Strikingly, intensive care unit (ICU) patients with severe COVID-19 display higher levels of soluble IL-6, IL-6R, and IL-18, and hyperactivation of innate, adaptive, and myeloid compartments than patients with moderate disease. Our analyses provide a comprehensive map of longitudinal immunological responses in COVID-19 patients and integrate key cellular pathways of complex immune networks underpinning severe COVID-19, providing important insights into potential biomarkers and immunotherapies.


Subject(s)
Antibody Formation , COVID-19/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interleukin-18/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, CXCR3/metabolism , Receptors, Interleukin-6/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Th1 Cells/cytology , Th1 Cells/metabolism , Young Adult
11.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(39): 24384-24391, 2020 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-775833

ABSTRACT

An improved understanding of human T cell-mediated immunity in COVID-19 is important for optimizing therapeutic and vaccine strategies. Experience with influenza shows that infection primes CD8+ T cell memory to peptides presented by common HLA types like HLA-A2, which enhances recovery and diminishes clinical severity upon reinfection. Stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells from COVID-19 convalescent patients with overlapping peptides from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) led to the clonal expansion of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in vitro, with CD4+ T cells being robust. We identified two HLA-A*02:01-restricted SARS-CoV-2-specfic CD8+ T cell epitopes, A2/S269-277 and A2/Orf1ab3183-3191 Using peptide-HLA tetramer enrichment, direct ex vivo assessment of A2/S269 +CD8+ and A2/Orf1ab3183 +CD8+ populations indicated that A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells were detected at comparable frequencies (∼1.3 × 10-5) in acute and convalescent HLA-A*02:01+ patients. These frequencies were higher than those found in uninfected HLA-A*02:01+ donors (∼2.5 × 10-6), but low when compared to frequencies for influenza-specific (A2/M158) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific (A2/BMLF1280) (∼1.38 × 10-4) populations. Phenotyping A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells from COVID-19 convalescents ex vivo showed that A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells were predominantly negative for CD38, HLA-DR, PD-1, and CD71 activation markers, although the majority of total CD8+ T cells expressed granzymes and/or perforin. Furthermore, the bias toward naïve, stem cell memory and central memory A2/S269 +CD8+ T cells rather than effector memory populations suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection may be compromising CD8+ T cell activation. Priming with appropriate vaccines may thus be beneficial for optimizing CD8+ T cell immunity in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , HLA-A2 Antigen/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Female , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Immunophenotyping , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , Peptide Fragments/immunology , Polyproteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/immunology
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