Adaptive immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

Cell. 2021 Feb 18;184(4):861-880. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.01.007. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Abstract

The adaptive immune system is important for control of most viral infections. The three fundamental components of the adaptive immune system are B cells (the source of antibodies), CD4+ T cells, and CD8+ T cells. The armamentarium of B cells, CD4+ T cells, and CD8+ T cells has differing roles in different viral infections and in vaccines, and thus it is critical to directly study adaptive immunity to SARS-CoV-2 to understand COVID-19. Knowledge is now available on relationships between antigen-specific immune responses and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although more studies are needed, a picture has begun to emerge that reveals that CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and neutralizing antibodies all contribute to control of SARS-CoV-2 in both non-hospitalized and hospitalized cases of COVID-19. The specific functions and kinetics of these adaptive immune responses are discussed, as well as their interplay with innate immunity and implications for COVID-19 vaccines and immune memory against re-infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Age Factors
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • COVID-19 / pathology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Race Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2 / classification
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Viral Load

Substances

  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Supplementary concepts

  • post-acute COVID-19 syndrome