Recovery of Innate Immune Cells and Persisting Alterations in Adaptive Immunity in the Peripheral Blood of Convalescent Plasma Donors at Eight Months Post SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Microorganisms. 2021 Mar 6;9(3):546. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9030546.


Persisting alterations and unique immune signatures have been previously detected in the peripheral blood of convalescent plasma (CP) donors at approximately two months after initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. This article presents the results on the sequential analysis of 47 CP donors at a median time of eight months (range 7.5-8.5 months) post infection, as assessed by flow cytometry. Interestingly, our results show a significant variation of the relevant immune subset composition among CP donors. Regarding innate immunity, both non-classical monocytes, and CD11b- granulocytes had fully recovered at eight months post COVID-19 infection. Intermediate monocytes and natural killer (NK) cells had already been restored at the two-month evaluation and remained stable. Regarding adaptive immunity, the COVID-19-related skewed Th1 and Th2 cell polarization remained at the same levels as in two months. However, low levels of total B cells were detected even after eight months from infection. A persisting reduction of CD8+ Tregs and changes in the NKT cell compartment were also remarkable. CP donors present with a unique immune landscape at eight months post COVID-19 infection, which is characterized by the notable restoration of the components of innate immunity along with a persisting imprint of SARS-CoV-2 in cells of the adaptive immunity.

Keywords: 8 months; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; convalescence plasma donors; immune profiling; immune restoration.