Maintenance of broad neutralizing antibodies and memory B cells 1 year post-infection is predicted by SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cell responses

Cell Rep. 2022 Feb 8;38(6):110345. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110345. Epub 2022 Jan 19.


Understanding the long-term maintenance of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunity is critical for predicting protection against reinfection. In an age- and gender-matched cohort of 24 participants, the association of disease severity and early immune responses on the maintenance of humoral immunity 12 months post-infection is examined. All severely affected participants maintain a stable subset of SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific memory B cells (MBCs) and good neutralizing antibody breadth against the majority of the variants of concern, including the Delta variant. Modeling these immune responses against vaccine efficacy data indicate a 45%-76% protection against symptomatic infection (variant dependent). Overall, these findings indicate durable humoral responses in most participants after infection, reasonable protection against reinfection, and implicate baseline antigen-specific CD4+ T cell responses as a predictor of maintenance of antibody neutralization breadth and RBD-specific MBC levels at 12 months post-infection.

Keywords: 12 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection; Delta variant; RBD-specific memory B cells longevity; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV-2 OX40 CD4 T cell assay; SARS-CoV-2 antibody duration; SARS-CoV-2 neutralization; protection efficacy prediction; variants of concern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Australia
  • Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies / metabolism*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity / immunology
  • Immunity, Humoral / immunology
  • Male
  • Memory B Cells / immunology
  • Memory B Cells / metabolism*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus