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Targets of T Cell Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus in Humans with COVID-19 Disease and Unexposed Individuals.

ABSTRACT

Understanding adaptive immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is important for vaccine development, interpreting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis, and calibration of pandemic control measures. Using HLA class I and II predicted peptide "megapools," circulating SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8 and CD4 T cells were identified in ∼70% and 100% of COVID-19 convalescent patients, respectively. CD4 T cell responses to spike, the main target of most vaccine efforts, were robust and correlated with the magnitude of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA titers. The M, spike, and N proteins each accounted for 11%-27% of the total CD4 response, with additional responses commonly targeting nsp3, nsp4, ORF3a, and ORF8, among others. For CD8 T cells, spike and M were recognized, with at least eight SARS-CoV-2 ORFs targeted. Importantly, we detected SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4 T cells in ∼40%-60% of unexposed individuals, suggesting cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating "common cold" coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.