Background: The duration of humoral and T and B cell response after the infection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains unclear.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study to assess the virus-specific antibody and memory T and B cell responses in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients up to 343 days after infection. Neutralizing antibodies and antibodies against the receptor-binding domain, spike, and nucleoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 were measured. Virus-specific memory T and B cell responses were analyzed.
Results: We enrolled 59 patients with COVID-19, including 38 moderate, 16 mild, and 5 asymptomatic patients; 31 (52.5%) were men and 28 (47.5%) were women. The median age was 41 years (interquartile range, 30-55). The median day from symptom onset to enrollment was 317 days (range 257 to 343 days). We found that approximately 90% of patients still have detectable immunoglobulin (Ig)G antibodies against spike and nucleocapsid proteins and neutralizing antibodies against pseudovirus, whereas ~60% of patients had detectable IgG antibodies against receptor-binding domain and surrogate virus-neutralizing antibodies. The SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG+ memory B cell and interferon-γ-secreting T cell responses were detectable in more than 70% of patients.
Conclusions: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2-specific immune memory response persists in most patients approximately 1 year after infection, which provides a promising sign for prevention from reinfection and vaccination strategy.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; memory B cell; memory T cell; neutralizing antibody; persistence.
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