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1.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0258041, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443855

ABSTRACT

Numerous assays evaluating serological and cellular responses have been developed to characterize immune responses against SARS-CoV-2. Serological assays are both cost- and time-effective compared to cellular assays, but cellular immune responses may provide a diagnostic value to determine previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in seronegative individuals. However, potential cross-reactive T cell responses stemming from prior encounters with human coronaviruses (HCoVs) may affect assay specificity. In this study, we evaluated the specificity and sensitivity of a SARS-CoV-2 IFN-γ Release Assay (IGRA) based on the FluoroSpot method employing commercially available SARS-CoV-2-specific peptide pools, as well as an in-house designed SARS-CoV-2 peptide pool restricted to 5 amino acid stretches or less aligning with endemic HCoVs. Blood samples were obtained from healthcare workers (HCW) 5-6 months post SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) IgG and nucleocapsid (N) IgG dual seroconversion (n = 187) and HCW who had been S IgG and N IgG dual seronegative at repeated occasions, including the current sampling time point (n = 102). In addition, samples were obtained 4 to 5 months post infection from 55 polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed COVID-19 patients. Assay specificity and sensitivity were calculated with serology as a reference standard for HCW. The in-house generated peptide pool displayed a specificity of 96.1%, while the commercially available peptide pools displayed specificities of 80.4% and 85.3%, respectively. Sensitivity was higher in a cohort of previously hospitalized COVID-19 patients (96.4% and 84.0% for the commercially available peptide pools and 92.7% for the in-house generated peptide pool) compared to the HCW cohort (92.0% and 66.8% for the commercially available peptide pools and 76.0% for the in-house generated peptide pool). Based on these findings, the individual diagnostic value of T cell immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 currently appears to be limited but remain an important research tool ahead.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Health Personnel , Humans , Interferon-gamma/blood , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroconversion
3.
J Infect Dis ; 224(5): 777-782, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1381012

ABSTRACT

We analyzed plasma levels of interferons (IFNs) and cytokines, and expression of IFN-stimulated genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 of varying disease severity. Patients hospitalized with mild disease exhibited transient type I IFN responses, while intensive care unit patients had prolonged type I IFN responses. Type II IFN responses were compromised in intensive care unit patients. Type III IFN responses were induced in the early phase of infection, even in convalescent patients. These results highlight the importance of early type I and III IFN responses in controlling coronavirus disease 2019 progression.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Interferons/immunology , COVID-19/blood , Chemokines/blood , Cytokines/blood , Humans , Interferon Type I/blood , Interferon Type I/genetics , Interferon-gamma/blood , Interferon-gamma/genetics , Interferons/blood , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
4.
Immunol Res ; 69(6): 576-583, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366407

ABSTRACT

The development of vaccines to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection has mainly relied on the induction of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) to the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, but there is growing evidence that T cell immune response can contribute to protection as well. In this study, an anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) antibody assay and an INFγ-release assay (IGRA) were used to detect humoral and cellular responses to the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine in three separate cohorts of COVID-19-naïve patients: 108 healthcare workers (HCWs), 15 elderly people, and 5 autoimmune patients treated with immunosuppressive agents. After the second dose of vaccine, the mean values of anti-RBD antibodies (Abs) and INFγ were 123.33 U/mL (range 27.55-464) and 1513 mIU/mL (range 145-2500) in HCWs and 210.7 U/mL (range 3-500) and 1167 mIU/mL (range 83-2500) in elderly people. No correlations between age and immune status were observed. On the contrary, a weak but significant positive correlation was found between INFγ and anti-RBD Abs values (rho = 0.354, p = 0.003). As to the autoimmune cohort, anti-RBD Abs were not detected in the two patients with absent peripheral CD19+B cells, despite high INFγ levels being observed in all 5 patients after vaccination. Even though the clinical relevance of T cell response has not yet been established as a correlate of vaccine-induced protection, IGRA testing has showed optimal sensitivity and specificity to define vaccine responders, even in patients lacking a cognate antibody response to the vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Immunocompromised Host/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Autoimmune Diseases/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Immunosuppressive Agents/adverse effects , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , Interferon-gamma/blood , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Domains/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccination , Young Adult
5.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 1807-1818, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360311

ABSTRACT

Male sex was repeatedly identified as a risk factor for death and intensive care admission. However, it is yet unclear whether sex hormones are associated with disease severity in COVID-19 patients. In this study, we analysed sex hormone levels (estradiol and testosterone) of male and female COVID-19 patients (n = 50) admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in comparison to control non-COVID-19 patients at the ICU (n = 42), non-COVID-19 patients with the most prevalent comorbidity (coronary heart diseases) present within the COVID-19 cohort (n = 39) and healthy individuals (n = 50). We detected significantly elevated estradiol levels in critically ill male COVID-19 patients compared to all control cohorts. Testosterone levels were significantly reduced in critically ill male COVID-19 patients compared to control cohorts. No statistically significant differences in sex hormone levels were detected in critically ill female COVID-19 patients, albeit similar trends towards elevated estradiol levels were observed. Linear regression analysis revealed that among a broad range of cytokines and chemokines analysed, IFN-γ levels are positively associated with estradiol levels in male and female COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, male COVID-19 patients with elevated estradiol levels were more likely to receive ECMO treatment. Thus, we herein identified that disturbance of sex hormone metabolism might present a hallmark in critically ill male COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/pathology , Estradiol/blood , Testosterone/blood , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/blood , Critical Care , Critical Illness , Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation , Female , Humans , Hypogonadism/pathology , Intensive Care Units , Interferon-gamma/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Sex Distribution
6.
Cells ; 10(8)2021 07 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335014

ABSTRACT

At the end of 2020, population-based vaccination programs with new generation mRNA-based vaccines began almost all over the world. The aim of the study was to evaluate the titer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies against the S1 subunit of the virus's spike protein as a marker of the humoral response in 477 patients and the concentration of interferon-gamma as an indicator of cellular response in 28 individuals. In our studies, we used serological enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. IgG was measured in weeks 2 and 3 after the first dose and 1-5 weeks after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine in seropositive and seronegative individuals as well as in symptomatic and asymptomatic convalescents. High levels of antibodies were observed in 98% of our vaccinated cohort, and the presence of protective T cells was confirmed in the blood samples of all participants. The humoral immune response is diversified and is visible as early as 2-3 weeks after the first dose of the mRNA vaccine. The level of protection increased significantly after the second dose, with the increase being much greater in pre-vaccine healthy subjects and less in convalescents. In the second and third weeks after the second dose, the concentration of IgG antibodies was the highest, and in the following weeks, it decreased gradually. Regular serological measurements on eight subjects show that antibody titers are lower four months after vaccination than before the second dose.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Interferon-gamma/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Female , Humans , Kinetics , Male , Middle Aged , Poland , Sex Factors , Time Factors
8.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 15107, 2021 07 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1322506

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 outbreak brings intense pressure on healthcare systems, with an urgent demand for effective diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic procedures. Here, we employed Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) to analyze three publicly available high throughput COVID-19 datasets, including proteomic, metabolomic and transcriptomic measurements. Pathway analysis of the selected features was also performed. Analysis of a combined proteomic and metabolomic dataset led to 10 equivalent signatures of two features each, with AUC 0.840 (CI 0.723-0.941) in discriminating severe from non-severe COVID-19 patients. A transcriptomic dataset led to two equivalent signatures of eight features each, with AUC 0.914 (CI 0.865-0.955) in identifying COVID-19 patients from those with a different acute respiratory illness. Another transcriptomic dataset led to two equivalent signatures of nine features each, with AUC 0.967 (CI 0.899-0.996) in identifying COVID-19 patients from virus-free individuals. Signature predictive performance remained high upon validation. Multiple new features emerged and pathway analysis revealed biological relevance by implication in Viral mRNA Translation, Interferon gamma signaling and Innate Immune System pathways. In conclusion, AutoML analysis led to multiple biosignatures of high predictive performance, with reduced features and large choice of alternative predictors. These favorable characteristics are eminent for development of cost-effective assays to contribute to better disease management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/metabolism , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Machine Learning , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Computer Simulation , Databases, Factual , Databases, Genetic , Databases, Protein , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Interferon-gamma/blood , Metabolomics , Prognosis , Proteomics , ROC Curve , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Signal Transduction/genetics , Signal Transduction/immunology , Software
9.
J Immunol Res ; 2021: 6657894, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1314178

ABSTRACT

Background: The 2019 novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 caused large outbreaks of COVID-19 worldwide. COVID-19 resembles community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Our aim was to identify lymphocyte subpopulations to distinguish between COVID-19 and CAP. Methods: We compared the peripheral blood lymphocytes and their subsets in 296 patients with COVID-19 and 130 patients with CAP. Parameters for independent prediction of COVID-19 were calculated by logistic regression. Results: The main lymphocyte subpopulations (CD3+CD4+, CD16+CD56+, and CD4+/CD8+ ratio) and cytokines (TNF-α and IFN-γ) of COVID-19 patients were significantly different from that of CAP patients. CD16+CD56+%, CD4+/CD8+ratio, CD19+, and CD3+CD4+ were identified as predictors of COVID-19 diagnosis by logistic regression. In addition, the CD3+CD4+counts, CD3+CD8+ counts, andTNF-α are independent predictors of disease severity in patients. Conclusions: Lymphopenia is an important part of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and lymphocyte subsets and cytokines may be useful to predict the severity and clinical outcomes of the disease.


Subject(s)
CD4-CD8 Ratio , COVID-19/blood , Interferon-gamma/blood , Lymphocyte Subsets/cytology , Pneumonia/blood , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/blood , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19 Testing , Community-Acquired Infections/microbiology , Female , Humans , Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Lymphopenia/blood , Lymphopenia/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia/immunology , Pneumonia/pathology , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Severity of Illness Index
10.
Front Immunol ; 12: 684014, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290901

ABSTRACT

T cells play a fundamental role in the early control and clearance of many viral infections of the respiratory system. In SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals, lymphopenia with drastically reduced CD4+ and CD8+ T cells correlates with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-associated disease severity and mortality. In this study, we characterized cellular and humoral immune responses induced in patients with mild, severe and critical COVID-19. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 37 patients with mild, severe and critical COVID-19 and 10 healthy individuals were analyzed by IFNγ ELISpot and multi-color flow cytometry upon stimulation with peptide pools covering complete immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 matrix, nucleocapsid and spike proteins. In addition SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels, neutralization abilities and anaphylatoxin levels were evaluated by various commercially available ELISA platforms. Our data clearly demonstrates a significantly stronger induction of SARS-CoV-2 specific CD8+ T lymphocytes and higher IFNγ production in patients with mild compared to patients with severe or critical COVID-19. In all patients SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies with similar neutralizing activity were detected, but highest titers of total IgGs were observed in critical patients. Finally, elevated anaphylatoxin C3a and C5a levels were identified in severe and critical COVID-19 patients probably caused by aberrant immune complex formation due to elevated antibody titers in these patients. Crucially, we provide a full picture of cellular and humoral immune responses of COVID-19 patients and prove that robust polyfunctional CD8+ T cell responses concomitant with low anaphylatoxin levels correlate with mild infections. In addition, our data indicates that high SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers are associated with severe disease progression.


Subject(s)
Anaphylatoxins/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Disease Progression , Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay , Female , Flow Cytometry , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Interferon-gamma/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acuity
11.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4043, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290767

ABSTRACT

Memory T cells contribute to rapid viral clearance during re-infection, but the longevity and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells remain unclear. Here we conduct ex vivo assays to evaluate SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in COVID-19 convalescent patients up to 317 days post-symptom onset (DPSO), and find that memory T cell responses are maintained during the study period regardless of the severity of COVID-19. In particular, we observe sustained polyfunctionality and proliferation capacity of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells. Among SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells detected by activation-induced markers, the proportion of stem cell-like memory T (TSCM) cells is increased, peaking at approximately 120 DPSO. Development of TSCM cells is confirmed by SARS-CoV-2-specific MHC-I multimer staining. Considering the self-renewal capacity and multipotency of TSCM cells, our data suggest that SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells are long-lasting after recovery from COVID-19, thus support the feasibility of effective vaccination programs as a measure for COVID-19 control.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Interferon-gamma/blood , Vaccination
12.
Cell Transplant ; 30: 9636897211024942, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1285159

ABSTRACT

The aim of this clinical trial was to control the cytokine storm by administering mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to critically-ill COVID-19 patients, to evaluate the healing effect, and to systematically investigate how the treatment works. Patients with moderate and critical COVID-19 clinical manifestations were separated as Group 1 (moderate cases, n = 10, treated conventionally), Group 2 (critical cases, n = 10, treated conventionally), and Group 3 (critical cases, n = 10, treated conventionally plus MSCs transplantation therapy of three consecutive doses on treatment days 0, 3, and 6, (as 3 × 106 cells/kg, intravenously). The treatment mechanism of action was investigated with evaluation markers of the cytokine storm, via biochemical parameters, levels of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, analyses of tissue regeneration via the levels of growth factors, apoptosis markers, chemokines, matrix metalloproteinases, and granzyme-B, and by the assessment of the immunomodulatory effects via total oxidant/antioxidant status markers and the levels of lymphocyte subsets. In the assessment of the overall mortality rates of all the cases, six patients in Group-2 and three patients in Group-3 died, and there was no loss in Group-1. Proinflammatory cytokines IFNγ, IL-6, IL-17A, IL-2, IL-12, anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10, IL-13, IL-1ra, and growth factors TGF-ß, VEGF, KGF, and NGF levels were found to be significant in Group-3. When Group-2 and Group-3 were compared, serum ferritin, fibrinogen and CRP levels in Group-3 had significantly decreased. CD45 +, CD3 +, CD4 +, CD8 +, CD19 +, HLA-DR +, and CD16 + / CD56 + levels were evaluated. In the statistical comparison of the groups, significance was only determined in respect of neutrophils. The results demonstrated the positive systematic and cellular effects of MSCs application on critically ill COVID-19 patients in a versatile way. This effect plays an important role in curing and reducing mortality in critically ill patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation , Adult , C-Reactive Protein/analysis , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Critical Illness , Cytokines/blood , Female , Humans , Interferon-gamma/blood , Interleukin-10/blood , Interleukin-8/blood , Leukocyte Common Antigens/metabolism , Lymphocytes/cytology , Lymphocytes/metabolism , Male , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/cytology , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/metabolism , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Treatment Outcome
13.
Front Immunol ; 12: 641447, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264330

ABSTRACT

The newly emerged novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 has proven to be a threat to the human race globally, thus, vaccine development against SARS-CoV-2 is an unmet need driving mass vaccination efforts. The receptor binding domain of the spike protein of this coronavirus has multiple neutralizing epitopes and is associated with viral entry. Here we have designed and characterized the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein fragment 330-526 as receptor binding domain 330-526 (RBD330-526) with two native glycosylation sites (N331 and N343); as a potential subunit vaccine candidate. We initially characterized RBD330-526 biochemically and investigated its thermal stability, humoral and T cell immune response of various RBD protein formulations (with or without adjuvant) to evaluate the inherent immunogenicity and immunomodulatory effect. Our result showed that the purified RBD immunogen is stable up to 72 h, without any apparent loss in affinity or specificity of interaction with the ACE2 receptor. Upon immunization in mice, RBD generates a high titer humoral response, elevated IFN-γ producing CD4+ cells, cytotoxic T cells, and robust neutralizing antibodies against live SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our results collectively support the potential of RBD330-526 as a promising vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Peptide Fragments/administration & dosage , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/administration & dosage , Th1 Cells/drug effects , Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Animals , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Stability , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunization , Interferon-gamma/blood , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Peptide Fragments/immunology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Stability , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Th1 Cells/immunology , Th1 Cells/metabolism , Vaccines, Subunit/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vero Cells
14.
J Infect Dis ; 224(5): 777-782, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1243489

ABSTRACT

We analyzed plasma levels of interferons (IFNs) and cytokines, and expression of IFN-stimulated genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 of varying disease severity. Patients hospitalized with mild disease exhibited transient type I IFN responses, while intensive care unit patients had prolonged type I IFN responses. Type II IFN responses were compromised in intensive care unit patients. Type III IFN responses were induced in the early phase of infection, even in convalescent patients. These results highlight the importance of early type I and III IFN responses in controlling coronavirus disease 2019 progression.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Interferons/immunology , COVID-19/blood , Chemokines/blood , Cytokines/blood , Humans , Interferon Type I/blood , Interferon Type I/genetics , Interferon-gamma/blood , Interferon-gamma/genetics , Interferons/blood , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
15.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250330, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207631

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the novel coronavirus and then pandemic outbreak was coined 2019- nCoV or COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2 disease 2019). This disease has a mortality rate of about 3·7 percent, and successful therapy is desperately needed to combat it. The exact cellular mechanisms of COVID-19 need to be illustrated in detail. This study aimed to evaluate serum cytokines in COVID-19 patients. In this study, serum was collected from volunteer individuals, moderate COVID-19 patients, severe cases of COVID-19 patients, and patients who recovered from COVID-19 (n = 122). The serum concentrations of interleukins such as IL-1, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). The concentrations of IL-1 and TNF-α were did not differ significantly among groups. However, the concentration of IL-6 was significantly higher in moderate COVID-19 and severe cases of COVID-19 groups compared to control and recovered groups indicating it to be an independent predictor in the coronavirus disease. The levels of IFN-γ and IL-4 were significantly lower in the recovery group than the severe case of the COVID-19 group. In contrast, the level of IL-10 in recovered COVID-19 patients was significantly higher in compare to severe cases, COVID-19 patients. Varying levels of cytokines were detected in COVID-19 group than control group suggesting distinct immunoregulatory mechanisms involved in COVID-19 pathogenesis. However, additional investigations are needed to be to be performed to understand the exact cellular mechanism of this disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , Cytokines/blood , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Interferon-gamma/blood , Interleukin-10/blood , Interleukin-4/blood , Interleukin-6/blood , Iraq/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/blood , Young Adult
16.
J Med Virol ; 93(1): 375-382, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1196391

ABSTRACT

There is limited information on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) T-cell immune responses in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells may be instrumental in resolution of and protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we tested 25 hospitalized patients either with microbiologically documented COVID-19 (n = 19) or highly suspected of having the disease (n = 6) for presence of SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD69+ expressing interferon-γ (IFN-γ) producing CD8+ T cells using flow-cytometry for intracellular cytokine staining assay. Two sets of overlapping peptides encompassing the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein N-terminal 1 to 643 amino acid sequence and the entire sequence of SARS-CoV-2 M protein were used simultaneously as antigenic stimulus. Ten patients (40%) had detectable responses, displaying frequencies ranging from 0.15 to 2.7% (median of 0.57 cells/µL; range, 0.43-9.98 cells/µL). The detection rate of SARS-CoV-2-reactive IFN-γ CD8+ T cells in patients admitted to intensive care was comparable (P = .28) to the rate in patients hospitalized in other medical wards. No correlation was found between SARS-CoV-2-reactive IFN-γ CD8+ T-cell counts and SARS-CoV-2 S-specific antibody levels. Likewise, no correlation was observed between either SARS-CoV-2-reactive IFN-γ CD8+ T cells or S-specific immunoglobulin G-antibody titers and blood cell count or levels of inflammatory biomarkers. In summary, in this descriptive, preliminary study we showed that SARS-CoV-2-reactive IFN-γ CD8+ T cells can be detected in a non-negligible percentage of patients with moderate to severe forms of COVID-19. Further studies are warranted to determine whether quantitation of these T-cell subsets may provide prognostic information on the clinical course of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Interferon-gamma/blood , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/drug effects , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , Middle Aged , Preliminary Data , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
17.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(18)2021 05 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1189344

ABSTRACT

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic rages on, it is important to explore new evolution-resistant vaccine antigens and new vaccine platforms that can produce readily scalable, inexpensive vaccines with easier storage and transport. We report here a synthetic biology-based vaccine platform that employs an expression vector with an inducible gram-negative autotransporter to express vaccine antigens on the surface of genome-reduced bacteria to enhance interaction of vaccine antigen with the immune system. As a proof-of-principle, we utilized genome-reduced Escherichia coli to express SARS-CoV-2 and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) fusion peptide (FP) on the cell surface, and evaluated their use as killed whole-cell vaccines. The FP sequence is highly conserved across coronaviruses; the six FP core amino acid residues, along with the four adjacent residues upstream and the three residues downstream from the core, are identical between SARS-CoV-2 and PEDV. We tested the efficacy of PEDV FP and SARS-CoV-2 FP vaccines in a PEDV challenge pig model. We demonstrated that both vaccines induced potent anamnestic responses upon virus challenge, potentiated interferon-γ responses, reduced viral RNA loads in jejunum tissue, and provided significant protection against clinical disease. However, neither vaccines elicited sterilizing immunity. Since SARS-CoV-2 FP and PEDV FP vaccines provided similar clinical protection, the coronavirus FP could be a target for a broadly protective vaccine using any platform. Importantly, the genome-reduced bacterial surface-expressed vaccine platform, when using a vaccine-appropriate bacterial vector, has potential utility as an inexpensive, readily manufactured, and rapid vaccine platform for other pathogens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Fusion Proteins/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Disease Models, Animal , Escherichia coli/genetics , Genome, Bacterial , Interferon-gamma/blood , RNA, Viral/analysis , Swine , Vaccines, Inactivated/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
18.
Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol ; 35: 20587384211005645, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1156054

ABSTRACT

Protective effects of peroxiredoxin 6 (PRDX6) in RIN-m5F ß-cells and of thymulin in mice with alloxan-induced diabetes were recently reported. The present work was aimed at studying the efficiency of thymulin and PRDX6 in a type 1 diabetes mellitus model induced by streptozotocin in mice. Effects of prolonged treatment with PRDX6 or thymic peptide thymulin on diabetes development were evaluated. We assessed the effects of the drugs on the physiological status of diabetic mice by measuring blood glucose, body weight, and cell counts in several organs, as well as effects of thymulin and PRDX6 on the immune status of diabetic mice measuring concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines in blood plasma (TNF-α, interleukin-5 and 17, and interferon-γ), activity of NF-κB and JNK pathways, and Hsp90α expression in immune cells. Both thymulin and PRDX6 reduced the physiological impairments in diabetic mice at various levels. Thymulin and PRDX6 provide beneficial effects in the model of diabetes via very different mechanisms. Taken together, the results of our study indicated that the thymic peptide and the antioxidant enzyme have anti-inflammatory functions. As increasing evidences show diabetes mellitus as a distinct comorbidity leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome and increased mortality in patients with COVID-19 having cytokine storm, thymulin, and PRDX6 might serve as a supporting anti-inflammatory treatment in the therapy of COVID 19 in diabetic patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , MAP Kinase Kinase 4/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Peroxiredoxin VI , Signal Transduction , Thymic Factor, Circulating , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/metabolism , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Antioxidants/metabolism , Antioxidants/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Diabetes Mellitus/drug therapy , Diabetes Mellitus/immunology , Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental/immunology , Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental/therapy , Drug Discovery , Interferon-gamma/blood , Interleukins/blood , Mice , Peroxiredoxin VI/metabolism , Peroxiredoxin VI/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Signal Transduction/immunology , Thymic Factor, Circulating/metabolism , Thymic Factor, Circulating/pharmacology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/blood
19.
J Clin Invest ; 131(6)2021 03 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133407

ABSTRACT

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has recently been described in children (MIS-C), partially overlapping with Kawasaki disease (KD). We hypothesized that (a) MIS-C and prepandemic KD cytokine profiles may be unique and justify the clinical differences observed, and (b) SARS-CoV-2-specific immune complexes (ICs) may explain the immunopathology of MIS-C. Seventy-four children were included: 14 with MIS-C, 9 patients positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR without MIS-C (COVID), 14 with prepandemic KD, and 37 healthy controls (HCs). Thirty-four circulating cytokines were quantified in pretreatment serum or plasma samples and the presence of circulating SARS-CoV-2 ICs was evaluated in MIS-C patients. Compared with HCs, the MIS-C and KD groups showed most cytokines to be significantly elevated, with IFN-γ-induced response markers (including IFN-γ, IL-18, and IP-10) and inflammatory monocyte activation markers (including MCP-1, IL-1α, and IL-1RA) being the main triggers of inflammation. In linear discriminant analysis, MIS-C and KD profiles overlapped; however, a subgroup of MIS-C patients (MIS-Cplus) differentiated from the remaining MIS-C patients in IFN-γ, IL-18, GM-CSF, RANTES, IP-10, IL-1α, and SDF-1 and incipient signs of macrophage activation syndrome. Circulating SARS-CoV-2 ICs were not detected in MIS-C patients. Our findings suggest a major role for IFN-γ in the pathogenesis of MIS-C, which may be relevant for therapeutic management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/etiology , Cytokines/blood , Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome/etiology , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/etiology , Adolescent , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigen-Antibody Complex/blood , Antigens, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Interferon-gamma/blood , Male , Models, Immunological , Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome/immunology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/immunology , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/virology
20.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 629-637, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1124369

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccines emerging from different platforms differ in efficacy, duration of protection, and side effects. To maximize the benefits of vaccination, we explored the utility of employing a heterologous prime-boost strategy in which different combinations of the four types of leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are undergoing clinical trials in China were tested in a mouse model. Our results showed that sequential immunization with adenovirus vectored vaccine followed by inactivated/recombinant subunit/mRNA vaccine administration specifically increased levels of neutralizing antibodies and promoted the modulation of antibody responses to predominantly neutralizing antibodies. Moreover, a heterologous prime-boost regimen with an adenovirus vector vaccine also improved Th1-biased T cell responses. Our results provide new ideas for the development and application of COVID-19 vaccines to control the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Adenovirus Vaccines/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunization, Secondary/methods , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Adenovirus Vaccines/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Interferon-gamma/blood , Lymphocyte Count , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology , Vaccination/adverse effects , Vaccines, Subunit/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage
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