Lymphocyte Subset Counts in COVID-19 Patients: A Meta-Analysis

Cytometry A. 2020 Aug;97(8):772-776. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.24172. Epub 2020 Jul 18.


A reduced peripheral blood absolute lymphocyte count with an elevated neutrophil count has been a consistent observation in hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. In this brief meta-analysis, the reduction of lymphocyte subset counts in COVID-19 patients was investigated across 20 peer-reviewed studies meeting criteria for reporting lymphocyte subset counts and COVID-19 disease severity. CD4+ T cell, CD8+ T cell, B cell, NK cell, and total lymphocyte cell counts all showed statistically significant reduction in patients with severe/critical COVID-19 disease compared to mild/moderate disease. T-cell subsets showed the largest standardized magnitude of change. In some studies, multivariate analysis has shown that CD4 and/or CD8 T-cells counts are independently predictive of patient outcomes. © 2020 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.

Keywords: COVID-19; T-cell subset; flow cytometry; immunophenotyping; lymphocyte subset.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood*
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology*