One-year sustained cellular and humoral immunities of COVID-19 convalescents.
Zhang J., Lin H., Ye B., Zhao M., Zhan J., Dong S., Guo Y., Zhao Y., Li M., Liu S., Zhang H., Xiao W., Guo Y., Yue C., Zhang D., Yang M., Zhang J., Quan C., Shi W., Liu X., Liu P., Jiang Y., Wu G., Gao GF., Liu WJ.
BACKGROUND: The longitudinal antigen-specific immunity in COVID-19 convalescents is crucial for long-term protection upon individual re-exposure to SARS-CoV-2, and even more pivotal for ultimately achieving population-level immunity. To better understand the features of immune memory in individuals with different disease severities at one year post-disease onset we conducted this cohort study. METHODS: We conducted a systematic antigen-specific immune evaluation in 101 COVID-19 convalescents, who had asymptomatic, mild, moderate, or severe disease, through two visits at months 6 and 12 post-disease onset. The SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, comprising NAb, IgG, and IgM, were assessed by mutually corroborated assays, i.e. neutralization, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and microparticle chemiluminescence immunoassay (MCLIA). Meanwhile, the T-cell memory against SARS-CoV-2 spike, membrane and nucleocapsid proteins was tested through enzyme-linked immunospot assay (ELISpot), intracellular cytokine staining (ICS), and tetramer staining-based flow cytometry, respectively. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibodies, and also NAb can persist among over 95% COVID-19 convalescents from 6 months to 12 months after disease onset. At least 19/71 (26%) of COVID-19 convalescents (double positive in ELISA and MCLIA) had detectable circulating IgM antibody against SARS-CoV-2 at 12m post-disease onset. Notably, the percentages of convalescents with positive SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses (at least one of the SARS-CoV-2 antigen S1, S2, M and N protein) were 71/76 (93%) and 67/73 (92%) at 6m and 12m, respectively. Furthermore, both antibody and T-cell memory levels of the convalescents were positively associated with their disease severity. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2-specific cellular and humoral immunities are durable at least until one year after disease onset.