This study assessed T-cell responses in individuals with and without a positive antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were drawn from the TwinsUK cohort, grouped by (a) presence or absence of COVID-associated symptoms (S+, S−), logged prospectively through the COVID Symptom Study app, and (b) anti-IgG Spike and anti-IgG Nucleocapsid antibodies measured by ELISA (Ab+, Ab−), during the first wave of the UK pandemic. T-cell helper and regulatory responses after stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptides were assessed. Thirty-two participants were included in the final analysis. Fourteen of 15 with IgG Spike antibodies had a T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2-specific peptides; none of 17 participants without IgG Spike antibodies had a T-cell response (χ2: 28.2, p < 0.001). Quantitative T-cell responses correlated strongly with fold-change in IgG Spike antibody titer (ρ = 0.79, p < 0.0001) but not to symptom score (ρ = 0.17, p = 0.35). Humoral and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 are highly correlated. We found no evidence of cellular immunity suggestive of SARS-CoV2 infection in individuals with a COVID-19-like illness but negative antibodies.
- symptom response
- T cell