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1.
Cell Rep ; 37(13): 110167, 2021 12 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596401

ABSTRACT

Cross-reactivity and direct killing of target cells remain underexplored for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific CD8+ T cells. Isolation of T cell receptors (TCRs) and overexpression in allogeneic cells allows for extensive T cell reactivity profiling. We identify SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp/NSP12) as highly conserved, likely due to its critical role in the virus life cycle. We perform single-cell TCRαß sequencing in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A∗02:01-restricted, RdRp-specific T cells from SARS-CoV-2-unexposed individuals. Human T cells expressing these TCRαß constructs kill target cell lines engineered to express full-length RdRp. Three TCR constructs recognize homologous epitopes from common cold coronaviruses, indicating CD8+ T cells can recognize evolutionarily diverse coronaviruses. Analysis of individual TCR clones may help define vaccine epitopes that can induce long-term immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/immunology , HLA-A2 Antigen/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Culture Techniques , Cross Reactions/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , HLA-A Antigens/immunology , HLA-A2 Antigen/genetics , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
2.
Front Immunol ; 12: 739757, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505515

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exhibits a sex bias with males showing signs of more severe disease and hospitalizations compared with females. The mechanisms are not clear but differential immune responses, particularly the initial innate immune response, between sexes may be playing a role. The early innate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 have not been studied because of the gap in timing between the patient becoming infected, showing symptoms, and getting the treatment. The primary objective of the present study was to compare the response of dendritic cells (DCs) and monocytes from males and females to SARS-CoV-2, 24 h after infection. To investigate this, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy young individuals were stimulated in vitro with the virus. Our results indicate that PBMCs from females upregulated the expression of HLA-DR and CD86 on pDCs and mDCs after stimulation with the virus, while the activation of these cells was not significant in males. Monocytes from females also displayed increased activation than males. In addition, females secreted significantly higher levels of IFN-α and IL-29 compared with males at 24 h. However, the situation was reversed at 1 week post stimulation and males displayed high levels of IFN-α production compared with females. Further investigations revealed that the secretion of CXCL-10, a chemokine associated with lung complications, was higher in males than females at 24 h. The PBMCs from females also displayed increased induction of CTLs. Altogether, our results suggest that decreased activation of pDCs, mDCs, and monocytes and the delayed and prolonged IFN-α secretion along with increased CXCL-10 secretion may be responsible for the increased morbidity and mortality of males to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adaptive Immunity , Adult , Chemokine CXCL1/metabolism , Female , HLA-DR Antigens/metabolism , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Sex Characteristics , Up-Regulation , Young Adult
3.
Cell Res ; 31(11): 1148-1162, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493088

ABSTRACT

Increasing numbers of SARS-CoV-2-positive (SARS-CoV-2pos) subjects are detected at silent SARS-CoV-2 infection stage (SSIS). Yet, SSIS represents a poorly examined time-window wherein unknown immunity patterns may contribute to the fate determination towards persistently asymptomatic or overt disease. Here, we retrieved blood samples from 19 asymptomatic and 12 presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2pos subjects, 47 age/gender-matched patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 and 27 normal subjects, and interrogated them with combined assays of 44-plex CyTOF, RNA-seq and Olink. Notably, both asymptomatic and presymptomatic subjects exhibited numerous readily detectable immunological alterations, while certain parameters including more severely decreased frequencies of CD107alow classical monocytes, intermediate monocytes, non-classical monocytes and CD62Lhi CD8+ Tnaïve cells, reduced plasma STC1 level but an increased frequency of CD4+ NKT cells combined to distinguish the latter. Intercorrelation analyses revealed a particular presymptomatic immunotype mainly manifesting as monocytic overactivation and differentiation blockage, a likely lymphocyte exhaustion and immunosuppression, yielding mechanistic insights into SSIS fate determination, which could potentially improve SARS-CoV-2 management.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/immunology , Carrier State/immunology , Adult , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Male , Natural Killer T-Cells/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
4.
Cell Death Dis ; 12(11): 1019, 2021 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493083

ABSTRACT

Clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients are worsened by the presence of co-morbidities, especially cancer leading to elevated mortality rates. SARS-CoV-2 infection is known to alter immune system homeostasis. Whether cancer patients developing COVID-19 present alterations of immune functions which might contribute to worse outcomes have so far been poorly investigated. We conducted a multi-omic analysis of immunological parameters in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of COVID-19 patients with and without cancer. Healthy donors and SARS-CoV-2-negative cancer patients were also included as controls. At the infection peak, cytokine multiplex analysis of blood samples, cytometry by time of flight (CyTOF) cell population analyses, and Nanostring gene expression using Pancancer array on PBMCs were performed. We found that eight pro-inflammatory factors (IL-6, IL-8, IL-13, IL-1ra, MIP-1a, IP-10) out of 27 analyzed serum cytokines were modulated in COVID-19 patients irrespective of cancer status. Diverse subpopulations of T lymphocytes such as CD8+T, CD4+T central memory, Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT), natural killer (NK), and γδ T cells were reduced, while B plasmablasts were expanded in COVID-19 cancer patients. Our findings illustrate a repertoire of aberrant alterations of gene expression in circulating immune cells of COVID-19 cancer patients. A 19-gene expression signature of PBMCs is able to discriminate COVID-19 patients with and without solid cancers. Gene set enrichment analysis highlights an increased gene expression linked to Interferon α, γ, α/ß response and signaling which paired with aberrant cell cycle regulation in cancer patients. Ten out of the 19 genes, validated in a real-world consecutive cohort, were specific of COVID-19 cancer patients independently from different cancer types and stages of the diseases, and useful to stratify patients in a COVID-19 disease severity-manner. We also unveil a transcriptional network involving gene regulators of both inflammation response and proliferation in PBMCs of COVID-19 cancer patients.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Neoplasms/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/cytology , Male , Neoplasms/pathology
5.
Front Immunol ; 12: 715023, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477819

ABSTRACT

Emerging evidence has unveiled the secondary infection as one of the mortal causes of post-SARS-CoV-2 infection, but the factors related to secondary bacterial or fungi infection remains largely unexplored. We here systematically investigated the factors that might contribute to secondary infection. By clinical examination index analysis of patients, combined with the integrative analysis with RNA-seq analysis in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell isolated shortly from initial infection, this study showed that the antibiotic catabolic process and myeloid cell homeostasis were activated while the T-cell response were relatively repressed in those with the risk of secondary infection. Further monitoring analysis of immune cell and liver injury analysis showed that the risk of secondary infection was accompanied by severe lymphocytopenia at the intermediate and late stages and liver injury at the early stages of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, the metagenomics analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and the microbial culture analysis, to some extent, showed that the severe pneumonia-related bacteria have already existed in the initial infection.


Subject(s)
Bacterial Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , Coinfection/epidemiology , Coinfection/mortality , Mycoses/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Bacterial Infections/mortality , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/microbiology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , Female , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Liver/injuries , Liver/virology , Lymphopenia/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Mycoses/mortality , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
6.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(9): e1009701, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435628

ABSTRACT

The speed of development, versatility and efficacy of mRNA-based vaccines have been amply demonstrated in the case of SARS-CoV-2. DNA vaccines represent an important alternative since they induce both humoral and cellular immune responses in animal models and in human trials. We tested the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of DNA-based vaccine regimens expressing different prefusion-stabilized Wuhan-Hu-1 SARS-CoV-2 Spike antigens upon intramuscular injection followed by electroporation in rhesus macaques. Different Spike DNA vaccine regimens induced antibodies that potently neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and elicited robust T cell responses. The antibodies recognized and potently neutralized a panel of different Spike variants including Alpha, Delta, Epsilon, Eta and A.23.1, but to a lesser extent Beta and Gamma. The DNA-only vaccine regimens were compared to a regimen that included co-immunization of Spike DNA and protein in the same anatomical site, the latter of which showed significant higher antibody responses. All vaccine regimens led to control of SARS-CoV-2 intranasal/intratracheal challenge and absence of virus dissemination to the lower respiratory tract. Vaccine-induced binding and neutralizing antibody titers and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis inversely correlated with transient virus levels in the nasal mucosa. Importantly, the Spike DNA+Protein co-immunization regimen induced the highest binding and neutralizing antibodies and showed the strongest control against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques.


Subject(s)
Macaca mulatta , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , DNA, Viral/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Immunization, Passive , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Mice , RNA, Messenger/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/administration & dosage , Vaccines, DNA/immunology
7.
J Infect Dis ; 224(6): 956-966, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429243

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be a major public health challenge globally. The identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-derived T-cell epitopes is of critical importance for peptide vaccines or diagnostic tools of COVID-19. METHODS: In this study, several SARS-CoV-2-derived human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-I binding peptides were predicted by NetMHCpan-4.1 and selected by Popcover to achieve pancoverage of the Chinese population. The top 5 ranked peptides derived from each protein of SARS-CoV-2 were then evaluated using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from unexposed individuals (negative for SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G). RESULTS: Seven epitopes derived from 4 SARS-CoV-2 proteins were identified. It is interesting to note that most (5 of 7) of the SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides with predicted affinities for HLA-I molecules were identified as HLA-II-restricted epitopes and induced CD4+ T cell-dependent responses. These results complete missing pieces of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and suggest that pre-existing T cells targeting all SARS-CoV-2-encoded proteins can be discovered in unexposed populations. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, in the current study, we present an alternative and effective strategy for the identification of T-cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 in healthy subjects, which may indicate an important role in the development of peptide vaccines for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cell Line , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 718744, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417083

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) is a rare condition mostly affecting children but also adults (MIS-A). Although severe systemic inflammation and multiorgan dysfunction are hallmarks of the syndrome, the underlying pathogenesis is unclear. We aimed to provide novel immunological and genetic descriptions of MIS-A patients. Cytokine responses (IL-6, IL-1ß, TNFα, CXCL10, type I, II and III interferons) following SARS-CoV-2 infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro were analyzed as well as antibodies against IFNα and IFNω (by ELISA) in patients and healthy controls. We also performed whole exome sequencing (WES) of patient DNA. A total of five patients (ages 19, 23, 33, 38, 50 years) were included. The patients shared characteristic features, although organ involvement and the time course of disease varied slightly. SARS-CoV-2 in vitro infection of patient PBMCs revealed impaired type I and III interferon responses and reduced CXCL10 expression, whereas production of proinflammatory cytokines were less affected, compared to healthy controls. Presence of interferon autoantibodies was not detected. Whole exome sequencing analysis of patient DNA revealed 12 rare potentially disease-causing variants in genes related to autophagy, classical Kawasaki disease, restriction factors and immune responses. In conclusion, we observed an impaired production of type I and III interferons in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and detected several rare potentially disease-causing gene variants potentially contributing to MIS-A.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Cytokines/blood , Interferon-alpha/biosynthesis , Interferons/biosynthesis , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/pathology , Adult , Autoantibodies/blood , Chemokine CXCL10/biosynthesis , Comorbidity , Exome/genetics , Female , Humans , Interferon-alpha/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Whole Exome Sequencing , Young Adult
9.
Cell Rep ; 37(1): 109793, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415261

ABSTRACT

The mortality risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients has been linked to the cytokine storm caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Understanding the inflammatory responses shared between COVID-19 and other infectious diseases that feature cytokine storms may therefore help in developing improved therapeutic strategies. Here, we use integrative analysis of single-cell transcriptomes to characterize the inflammatory signatures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with COVID-19, sepsis, and HIV infection. We identify ten hyperinflammatory cell subtypes in which monocytes are the main contributors to the transcriptional differences in these infections. Monocytes from COVID-19 patients share hyperinflammatory signatures with HIV infection and immunosuppressive signatures with sepsis. Finally, we construct a "three-stage" model of heterogeneity among COVID-19 patients, related to the hyperinflammatory and immunosuppressive signatures in monocytes. Our study thus reveals cellular and molecular insights about inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and provides therapeutic guidance to improve treatments for subsets of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , HIV Infections/blood , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sepsis/blood , Transcriptome , COVID-19/virology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/blood , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Data Analysis , Datasets as Topic , HIV Infections/immunology , HIV-1/immunology , Humans , Inflammation/blood , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Sepsis/immunology , Single-Cell Analysis
10.
Front Immunol ; 12: 677025, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403470

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is a global crisis; however, our current understanding of the host immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection remains limited. Herein, we performed RNA sequencing using peripheral blood from acute and convalescent patients and interrogated the dynamic changes of adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection over time. Our results revealed numerous alterations in these cohorts in terms of gene expression profiles and the features of immune repertoire. Moreover, a machine learning method was developed and resulted in the identification of five independent biomarkers and a collection of biomarkers that could accurately differentiate and predict the development of COVID-19. Interestingly, the increased expression of one of these biomarkers, UCHL1, a molecule related to nervous system damage, was associated with the clustering of severe symptoms. Importantly, analyses on immune repertoire metrics revealed the distinct kinetics of T-cell and B-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, with B-cell response plateaued in the acute phase and declined thereafter, whereas T-cell response can be maintained for up to 6 months post-infection onset and T-cell clonality was positively correlated with the serum level of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG. Together, the significantly altered genes or biomarkers, as well as the abnormally high levels of B-cell response in acute infection, may contribute to the pathogenesis of COVID-19 through mediating inflammation and immune responses, whereas prolonged T-cell response in the convalescents might help these patients in preventing reinfection. Thus, our findings could provide insight into the underlying molecular mechanism of host immune response to COVID-19 and facilitate the development of novel therapeutic strategies and effective vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/chemistry , Transcriptome , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , China , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Machine Learning , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Analysis, RNA , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Ubiquitin Thiolesterase/genetics , Ubiquitin Thiolesterase/immunology
11.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390778

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: New coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been circulating among humans since November 2019. Multiple studies have assessed the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of virus-specific immunity in COVID-19 convalescents, however, some aspects of the development of memory T-cell responses after natural SARS-CoV-2 infection remain uncovered. METHODS: In most of published studies T-cell immunity to the new coronavirus is assessed using peptides corresponding to SARS-CoV-1 or SARS-CoV-2 T-cell epitopes, or with peptide pools covering various parts of the viral proteins. Here, we determined the level of CD4+ and CD8+ memory T-cell responses in COVID-19 convalescents by stimulating PBMCs collected 1 to 6 months after recovery with sucrose gradient-purified live SARS-CoV-2. IFNγ production by the central and effector memory helper and cytotoxic T cells was assessed by intracellular cytokine staining assay and flow cytometry. RESULTS: Stimulation of PBMCs with live SARS-CoV-2 revealed IFNγ-producing T-helper effector memory cells with CD4+CD45RA-CCR7- phenotype, which persisted in circulation for up to 6 month after COVID-19. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2-specific IFNγ-secreting cytotoxic effector memory T cells were found at significant levels only shortly after the disease, but rapidly decreased over time. CONCLUSION: The stimulation of immune cells with live SARS-CoV-2 revealed a rapid decline in the pool of effector memory CD8+, but not CD4+, T cells after recovery from COVID-19. These data provide additional information on the development and persistence of cellular immune responses after natural infection, and can inform further development of T cell-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology
12.
Lancet ; 398(10304): 981-990, 2021 09 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386827

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 vaccine supply shortages are causing concerns about compromised immunity in some countries as the interval between the first and second dose becomes longer. Conversely, countries with no supply constraints are considering administering a third dose. We assessed the persistence of immunogenicity after a single dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222), immunity after an extended interval (44-45 weeks) between the first and second dose, and response to a third dose as a booster given 28-38 weeks after the second dose. METHODS: In this substudy, volunteers aged 18-55 years who were enrolled in the phase 1/2 (COV001) controlled trial in the UK and had received either a single dose or two doses of 5 × 1010 viral particles were invited back for vaccination. Here we report the reactogenicity and immunogenicity of a delayed second dose (44-45 weeks after first dose) or a third dose of the vaccine (28-38 weeks after second dose). Data from volunteers aged 18-55 years who were enrolled in either the phase 1/2 (COV001) or phase 2/3 (COV002), single-blinded, randomised controlled trials of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and who had previously received a single dose or two doses of 5 × 1010 viral particles are used for comparison purposes. COV001 is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04324606, and ISRCTN, 15281137, and COV002 is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04400838, and ISRCTN, 15281137, and both are continuing but not recruiting. FINDINGS: Between March 11 and 21, 2021, 90 participants were enrolled in the third-dose boost substudy, of whom 80 (89%) were assessable for reactogenicity, 75 (83%) were assessable for evaluation of antibodies, and 15 (17%) were assessable for T-cells responses. The two-dose cohort comprised 321 participants who had reactogenicity data (with prime-boost interval of 8-12 weeks: 267 [83%] of 321; 15-25 weeks: 24 [7%]; or 44-45 weeks: 30 [9%]) and 261 who had immunogenicity data (interval of 8-12 weeks: 115 [44%] of 261; 15-25 weeks: 116 [44%]; and 44-45 weeks: 30 [11%]). 480 participants from the single-dose cohort were assessable for immunogenicity up to 44-45 weeks after vaccination. Antibody titres after a single dose measured approximately 320 days after vaccination remained higher than the titres measured at baseline (geometric mean titre of 66·00 ELISA units [EUs; 95% CI 47·83-91·08] vs 1·75 EUs [1·60-1·93]). 32 participants received a late second dose of vaccine 44-45 weeks after the first dose, of whom 30 were included in immunogenicity and reactogenicity analyses. Antibody titres were higher 28 days after vaccination in those with a longer interval between first and second dose than for those with a short interval (median total IgG titre: 923 EUs [IQR 525-1764] with an 8-12 week interval; 1860 EUs [917-4934] with a 15-25 week interval; and 3738 EUs [1824-6625] with a 44-45 week interval). Among participants who received a third dose of vaccine, antibody titres (measured in 73 [81%] participants for whom samples were available) were significantly higher 28 days after a third dose (median total IgG titre: 3746 EUs [IQR 2047-6420]) than 28 days after a second dose (median 1792 EUs [IQR 899-4634]; Wilcoxon signed rank test p=0·0043). T-cell responses were also boosted after a third dose (median response increased from 200 spot forming units [SFUs] per million peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs; IQR 127-389] immediately before the third dose to 399 SFUs per milion PBMCs [314-662] by day 28 after the third dose; Wilcoxon signed rank test p=0·012). Reactogenicity after a late second dose or a third dose was lower than reactogenicity after a first dose. INTERPRETATION: An extended interval before the second dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 leads to increased antibody titres. A third dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 induces antibodies to a level that correlates with high efficacy after second dose and boosts T-cell responses. FUNDING: UK Research and Innovation, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Innovation Fund for Medical Science, Thames Valley and South Midlands NIHR Clinical Research Network, AstraZeneca, and Wellcome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Vaccination , Adult , Female , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Time Factors , United Kingdom
13.
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
14.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(15)2021 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374420

ABSTRACT

For the treatment of severe COVID-19, supplementation with human plasma-purified α-1 antitrypsin (AAT) to patients is currently considered. AAT inhibits host proteases that facilitate viral entry and possesses broad anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities. Researchers have demonstrated that an interaction between SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S) and lipopolysaccharides (LPS) enhances pro-inflammatory responses in vitro and in vivo. Hence, we wanted to understand the potential anti-inflammatory activities of plasma-derived and recombinant AAT (recAAT) in a model of human total peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) exposed to a combination of CHO expressed trimeric spike protein and LPS, ex vivo. We confirmed that cytokine production was enhanced in PBMCs within six hours when low levels of LPS were combined with purified spike proteins ("spike"). In the presence of 0.5 mg/mL recAAT, however, LPS/spike-induced TNF-α and IL-1ß mRNA expression and protein release were significantly inhibited (by about 46-50%) relative to LPS/spike alone. Although without statistical significance, recAAT also reduced production of IL-6 and IL-8. Notably, under the same experimental conditions, the plasma-derived AAT preparation Respreeza (used in native and oxidized forms) did not show significant effects. Our findings imply that an early pro-inflammatory activation of human PBMCs is better controlled by the recombinant version of AAT than the human plasma-derived AAT used here. Considering the increasing clinical interest in AAT therapy as useful to ameliorate the hyper-inflammation seen during COVID-19 infection, different AAT preparations require careful evaluation.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , alpha 1-Antitrypsin/pharmacology , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/chemistry , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/immunology , CHO Cells , COVID-19/therapy , Cells, Cultured , Cricetulus , Cytokines/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/drug effects , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Lipopolysaccharides/immunology , Lipopolysaccharides/toxicity , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , alpha 1-Antitrypsin/chemistry , alpha 1-Antitrypsin/immunology
15.
Elife ; 102021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1369909

ABSTRACT

The exact immunopathophysiology of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) caused by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) remains clouded by a general lack of relevant disease controls. The scarcity of single-cell investigations in the broader population of patients with CAP renders it difficult to distinguish immune features unique to COVID-19 from the common characteristics of a dysregulated host response to pneumonia. We performed integrated single-cell transcriptomic and proteomic analyses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a matched cohort of eight patients with COVID-19, eight patients with CAP caused by Influenza A or other pathogens, and four non-infectious control subjects. Using this balanced, multi-omics approach, we describe shared and diverging transcriptional and phenotypic patterns-including increased levels of type I interferon-stimulated natural killer cells in COVID-19, cytotoxic CD8 T EMRA cells in both COVID-19 and influenza, and distinctive monocyte compositions between all groups-and thereby expand our understanding of the peripheral immune response in different etiologies of pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Community-Acquired Infections/immunology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Single-Cell Analysis , Adult , Female , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/cytology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Male , Middle Aged
16.
Front Immunol ; 12: 716075, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1359192

ABSTRACT

The existence of asymptomatic and re-detectable positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients presents the disease control challenges of COVID-19. Most studies on immune responses in COVID-19 have focused on moderately or severely symptomatic patients; however, little is known about the immune response in asymptomatic and re-detectable positive (RP) patients. Here we performed a comprehensive analysis of the transcriptomic profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 48 COVID-19 patients which included 8 asymptomatic, 13 symptomatic, 15 recovered and 12 RP patients. The weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) identified six co-expression modules, of which the turquoise module was positively correlated with the asymptomatic, symptomatic, and recovered COVID-19 patients. The red module positively correlated with symptomatic patients only and the blue and brown modules positively correlated with the RP patients. The analysis by single sample gene set enrichment analysis (ssGSEA) revealed a lower level of IFN response and complement activation in the asymptomatic patients compared with the symptomatic, indicating a weaker immune response of the PBMCs in the asymptomatic patients. In addition, gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) analysis showed the enrichment of TNFα/NF-κB and influenza infection in the RP patients compared with the recovered patients, indicating a hyper-inflammatory immune response in the PBMC of RP patients. Thus our findings could extend our understanding of host immune response during the progression of COVID-19 disease and assist clinical management and the immunotherapy development for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Diseases , COVID-19/immunology , Carrier State/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transcriptome/genetics , Adult , Carrier State/virology , Complement Activation/immunology , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Influenza, Human/complications , Interferons/blood , Interferons/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Transcriptome/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , Young Adult
17.
Sci Immunol ; 6(62)2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1352519

ABSTRACT

To understand how a protective immune response against SARS-CoV-2 develops over time, we integrated phenotypic, transcriptional and repertoire analyses on PBMCs from mild and severe COVID-19 patients during and after infection, and compared them to healthy donors (HD). A type I IFN-response signature marked all the immune populations from severe patients during the infection. Humoral immunity was dominated by IgG production primarily against the RBD and N proteins, with neutralizing antibody titers increasing post infection and with disease severity. Memory B cells, including an atypical FCRL5+ T-BET+ memory subset, increased during the infection, especially in patients with mild disease. A significant reduction of effector memory, CD8+ T cells frequency characterized patients with severe disease. Despite such impairment, we observed robust clonal expansion of CD8+ T lymphocytes, while CD4+ T cells were less expanded and skewed toward TCM and TH2-like phenotypes. MAIT cells were also expanded, but only in patients with mild disease. Terminally differentiated CD8+ GZMB+ effector cells were clonally expanded both during the infection and post-infection, while CD8+ GZMK+ lymphocytes were more expanded post-infection and represented bona fide memory precursor effector cells. TCR repertoire analysis revealed that only highly proliferating T cell clonotypes, which included SARS-CoV-2-specific cells, were maintained post-infection and shared between the CD8+ GZMB+ and GZMK+ subsets. Overall, this study describes the development of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and identifies an effector CD8+ T cell population with memory precursor-like features.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Immunophenotyping , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transcriptome , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Biomarkers , COVID-19/virology , Cell Plasticity/genetics , Cell Plasticity/immunology , Clonal Evolution/immunology , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immunoglobulin Isotypes/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/metabolism
18.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 292, 2021 07 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1333904

ABSTRACT

Sex differences in the susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity have been controversial, and the underlying mechanisms of COVID-19 in a sex-specific manner remain understudied. Here we inspected sex differences in SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), sera inflammatory biomarker profiling, and single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) profiles across nasal, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from COVID-19 patients with varying degrees of disease severities. Our propensity score-matching observations revealed that male individuals have a 29% elevated likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 positivity, with a hazard ratio (HR) 1.32 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18-1.48) for hospitalization and HR 1.51 (95% CI 1.24-1.84) for admission to ICU. Sera from male patients at hospital admission had elevated neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio and elevated expression of inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein and procalcitonin). We found that SARS-CoV-2 entry factors, including ACE2, TMPRSS2, FURIN, and NRP1, have elevated expression in nasal squamous cells from male individuals with moderate and severe COVID-19. We observed male-biased transcriptional activation in SARS-CoV-2-infected macrophages from BALF and sputum samples, which offers potential molecular mechanism for sex-biased susceptibility to viral infection. Cell-cell interaction network analysis reveals potential epithelium-immune cell interactions and immune vulnerability underlying male-elevated disease severity and mortality in COVID-19. Mechanistically, monocyte-elevated expression of Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) and Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) is associated with severe outcomes in males with COVID-19. In summary, these findings provide basis to decipher immune responses underlying sex differences and designing sex-specific targeted interventions and patient care for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cell Communication/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Nasal Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sex Characteristics , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Single-Cell Analysis
19.
J Biol Chem ; 296: 100630, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1333548

ABSTRACT

Unchecked inflammation can result in severe diseases with high mortality, such as macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). MAS and associated cytokine storms have been observed in COVID-19 patients exhibiting systemic hyperinflammation. Interleukin-18 (IL-18), a proinflammatory cytokine belonging to the IL-1 family, is elevated in both MAS and COVID-19 patients, and its level is known to correlate with the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. IL-18 binds its specific receptor IL-1 receptor 5 (IL-1R5, also known as IL-18 receptor alpha chain), leading to the recruitment of the coreceptor, IL-1 receptor 7 (IL-1R7, also known as IL-18 receptor beta chain). This heterotrimeric complex then initiates downstream signaling, resulting in systemic and local inflammation. Here, we developed a novel humanized monoclonal anti-IL-1R7 antibody to specifically block the activity of IL-18 and its inflammatory signaling. We characterized the function of this antibody in human cell lines, in freshly obtained peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in human whole blood cultures. We found that the anti-IL-1R7 antibody significantly suppressed IL-18-mediated NFκB activation, reduced IL-18-stimulated IFNγ and IL-6 production in human cell lines, and reduced IL-18-induced IFNγ, IL-6, and TNFα production in PBMCs. Moreover, the anti-IL-1R7 antibody significantly inhibited LPS- and Candida albicans-induced IFNγ production in PBMCs, as well as LPS-induced IFNγ production in whole blood cultures. Our data suggest that blocking IL-1R7 could represent a potential therapeutic strategy to specifically modulate IL-18 signaling and may warrant further investigation into its clinical potential for treating IL-18-mediated diseases, including MAS and COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Interleukin-18/genetics , Receptors, Interleukin-18/genetics , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , COVID-19/drug therapy , Candida albicans/growth & development , Candida albicans/pathogenicity , Gene Expression Regulation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunologic Factors/biosynthesis , Inflammation , Interferon-gamma/genetics , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Interleukin-18/immunology , Interleukin-6/genetics , Interleukin-6/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/drug effects , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/microbiology , Lipopolysaccharides/antagonists & inhibitors , Lipopolysaccharides/pharmacology , Macrophage Activation Syndrome/drug therapy , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/immunology , Primary Cell Culture , Receptors, Interleukin-18/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Interleukin-18/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/genetics , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/immunology
20.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335228

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: New coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been circulating among humans since November 2019. Multiple studies have assessed the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of virus-specific immunity in COVID-19 convalescents, however, some aspects of the development of memory T-cell responses after natural SARS-CoV-2 infection remain uncovered. METHODS: In most of published studies T-cell immunity to the new coronavirus is assessed using peptides corresponding to SARS-CoV-1 or SARS-CoV-2 T-cell epitopes, or with peptide pools covering various parts of the viral proteins. Here, we determined the level of CD4+ and CD8+ memory T-cell responses in COVID-19 convalescents by stimulating PBMCs collected 1 to 6 months after recovery with sucrose gradient-purified live SARS-CoV-2. IFNγ production by the central and effector memory helper and cytotoxic T cells was assessed by intracellular cytokine staining assay and flow cytometry. RESULTS: Stimulation of PBMCs with live SARS-CoV-2 revealed IFNγ-producing T-helper effector memory cells with CD4+CD45RA-CCR7- phenotype, which persisted in circulation for up to 6 month after COVID-19. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2-specific IFNγ-secreting cytotoxic effector memory T cells were found at significant levels only shortly after the disease, but rapidly decreased over time. CONCLUSION: The stimulation of immune cells with live SARS-CoV-2 revealed a rapid decline in the pool of effector memory CD8+, but not CD4+, T cells after recovery from COVID-19. These data provide additional information on the development and persistence of cellular immune responses after natural infection, and can inform further development of T cell-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology
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