8 September 2020

Robust and broad T cell response seen in recovered COVID-19 patients

Communicable Disease COVID-19 Live blog

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8 September

  • People who recover from COVID-19 show significant amounts of immune T cells targeted at the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and those with more severe illness show greater and more diverse numbers of these memory T cells, a study has found.
    Writing in Nature Immunology, researchers present the results of a study analysing the immunological signatures in blood samples from 42 COVID-19 patients after recovery – 28 with mild disease and 14 with severe disease – and 16 unexposed donors.
    While the role that T cells play in the disease response and longer term immunity is still to be explored, T cells are known to play a key role in killing cells infected with other viruses such as measles, influenza and hepatitis C.
    The study found strong T cell responses to a range of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, including – but not limited to – the spike protein, in all the COVID-19-infected patients. However those with severe disease had stronger and broader responses than those with mild disease.
    The authors speculated that the fact the more severely-affected patients showed greater T cell responses could be the result of them having higher viral loads during infection, perhaps because their early T cell response was lower and so they didn’t control the virus as well as those who may have had a stronger early T cell response.
    “Alternatively, it is possible that the T cell response was itself harmful and contributes to disease severity,” they wrote.
  • So far in this pandemic, nearly 27 million people worldwide have been infected, and 900,000 have died from COVID-19, according to this week’s update from the WHO. For the week ending 6 September, the number of cases around the world had increased by 5% compared to the previous week, but the number of deaths had decreased by 2%.
    South-East Asia is showing the highest increase in new COVID-19 cases, while cases are declining in the African and Western Pacific regions. Nearly half of all new cases reported in the past week have occurred in the Americas, the region which currently carries the highest burden of the disease globally.
  • Here are today’s confirmed COVID-19 infection figures around Australia to 9pm Monday:
    National – 26,322, with 762 deaths
    ACT – 113 (0)
    NSW – 4118 (4)
    NT – 33 (0)
    QLD – 1133 (2)
    SA – 464 (0)
    TAS – 230 (0)
    VIC – 19,574 (41)
    WA – 657 (1)
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