SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells will likely prove critical for long-term immune protection against COVID-19. We here systematically mapped the functional and phenotypic landscape of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses in unexposed individuals, exposed family members, and individuals with acute or convalescent COVID-19. Acute phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells displayed a highly activated cytotoxic phenotype that correlated with various clinical markers of disease severity, whereas convalescent phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were polyfunctional and displayed a stem-like memory phenotype. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detectable in antibody-seronegative exposed family members and convalescent individuals with a history of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19. Our collective dataset shows that SARS-CoV-2 elicits robust, broad and highly functional memory T cell responses, suggesting that natural exposure or infection may prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19.
by Takuya Sekine, André Perez-Potti, Olga Rivera-Ballesteros, Kristoffer Strålin, Jean-Baptiste Gorin, Annika Olsson, Sian Llewellyn-Lacey, Habiba Kamal, GordanaBogdanovic, Sandra Muschiol, David J. Wullimann, Tobias Kammann, JohannaEmgård, Tiphaine Parrot, Elin Folkesson, Karolinska COVID-19 Study Group, OlavRooyackers, Lars I. Eriksson, Jan-Inge Henter, Anders Sönnerborg, Tobias Allander,Jan Albert, Morten Nielsen, Jonas Klingström, Sara Gredmark-Russ, Niklas K.Björkström, Johan K. Sandberg, David A. Price, Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, Soo Aleman, and Marcus Buggert
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