Highlights

  • Most recovered COVID-19 patients mount broad, durable immunity after infection
  • Neutralizing antibodies show a bi-phasic decay with half-lives >200 days
  • Spike IgG+ memory B cells increase and persist post-infection
  • Durable polyfunctional CD4 and CD8 T cells recognize distinct viral epitope regions

Summary

Ending the COVID-19 pandemic will require long-lived immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Here, we evaluate 254 COVID-19 patients longitudinally up to 8 months and find durable broad-based immune responses. SARS-CoV-2 spike binding and neutralizing antibodies exhibit a bi-phasic decay with an extended half-life of >200 days suggesting the generation of longer-lived plasma cells. SARS-CoV-2 infection also boosts antibody titers to SARS-CoV-1 and common betacoronaviruses. In addition, spike-specific IgG+ memory B cells persist, which bodes well for a rapid antibody response upon virus re-exposure or vaccination. Virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are polyfunctional and maintained with an estimated half-life of 200 days. Interestingly, CD4+ T cell responses equally target several SARS-CoV-2 proteins, whereas the CD8+ T cell responses preferentially target the nucleoprotein, highlighting the potential importance of including the nucleoprotein in future vaccines. Taken together, these results suggest that broad and effective immunity may persist long-term in recovered COVID-19 patients.

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100354

Reprinted for educational purposes and social benefit, not for profit.