SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthy donors and patients with COVID-19

Braun, Julian, Loyal, Lucie, Frentsch, Marco, Wendisch, Daniel, Georg, Philipp, Kurth, Florian, Hippenstiel, Stefan, Dingeldey, Manuela, Kruse, Beate, Fauchere, Florent, Baysal, Emre, Mangold, Maike, Henze, Larissa, Lauster, Roland, Kern, Florian and others, (2020) SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthy donors and patients with COVID-19. Nature, 587. pp. 270-274. ISSN 0028-0836

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Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the rapidly unfolding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic1,2. Clinical manifestations of COVID-19 vary, ranging from asymptomatic infection to respiratory failure. The mechanisms that determine such variable outcomes remain unresolved. Here we investigated CD4+ T cells that are reactive against the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 in the peripheral blood of patients with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2-unexposed healthy donors. We detected spike-reactive CD4+ T cells not only in 83% of patients with COVID-19 but also in 35% of healthy donors. Spike-reactive CD4+ T cells in healthy donors were primarily active against C-terminal epitopes in the spike protein, which show a higher homology to spike glycoproteins of human endemic coronaviruses, compared with N-terminal epitopes. Spike-protein-reactive T cell lines generated from SARS-CoV-2-naive healthy donors responded similarly to the C-terminal region of the spike proteins of the human endemic coronaviruses 229E and OC43, as well as that of SARS-CoV-2. This results indicate that spike-protein cross-reactive T cells are present, which were probably generated during previous encounters with endemic coronaviruses. The effect of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive T cells on clinical outcomes remains to be determined in larger cohorts. However, the presence of spike-protein cross-reactive T cells in a considerable fraction of the general population may affect the dynamics of the current pandemic, and has important implications for the design and analysis of upcoming trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2020 07:20
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2021 02:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/93723

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