Comorbid medical illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes, are associated with more severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. However, the role of the immune system in mediating these clinical outcomes has not been determined. We used multiparameter flow cytometry and systems serology to comprehensively profile the functions of T cells and antibodies targeting spike, nucleocapsid, and envelope proteins in a convalescent cohort of COVID-19 subjects who were either hospitalized (n = 20) or not hospitalized (n = 40). To avoid confounding, subjects were matched by age, sex, ethnicity, and date of symptom onset. Surprisingly, we found that the magnitude and functional breadth of virus-specific CD4+ T cell and antibody responses were consistently higher among hospitalized subjects, particularly those with medical comorbidities. However, an integrated analysis identified more coordination between polyfunctional CD4+ T cells and antibodies targeting the S1 domain of spike among subjects who were not hospitalized. These data reveal a functionally diverse and coordinated response between T cells and antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2, which is reduced in the presence of comorbid illnesses that are known risk factors for severe COVID-19.
Krystle K.Q. Yu, Stephanie Fischinger, Malisa T. Smith, Caroline Atyeo, Deniz Cizmeci, Caitlin R. Wolf, Erik D. Layton, Jennifer K. Logue, Melissa S. Aguilar, Kiel Shuey, Carolin Loos, Jingyou Yu, Nicholas Franko, Robert Y. Choi, Anna Wald, Dan H. Barouch, David M. Koelle, Douglas Lauffenburger, Helen Y. Chu, Galit Alter, Chetan Seshadri
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.