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Concordance of B- and T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, irrespective of symptoms suggestive of COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5217-5224
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number11
Early online date30 Jul 2022
Accepted/In press30 Jun 2022
E-pub ahead of print30 Jul 2022
PublishedNov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We thank the volunteers of TwinsUK, without whom this study would not be possible, and all participants who entered data into the C‐19 Covid Symptom Study App. We thank the staff of the Department of Twin Research at King's College London for their work in contributing to the running of the study and data collection—in particular, Samuel Wadge, Gulsah Akdag, Julia Brown, Alyce Sheedy, and Rachel Horsfall for their frontline work conducting home visits and sample processing during a very challenging time; and Zoe Limited for access to the ZCS app. We would also like to thank the healthy volunteers who work with King's College London, for their contribution to providing control sera for our ongoing studies. The study was funded by the Huo Family Foundation Award to M. H. M. and K. J. D., the UKRI and MRC Genotype‐to‐Phenotype UK National Virology Consortium (MR/W005611/1 to M. H. M. and K. J. D.), the Chronic Disease Research Foundation (CDRF‐22/2020 to T. S., M. A. B., C. J. S., M. H. M., K. J. D., and E. L. D.), Wellcome Trust Investigator Award 106223/Z/14/Z to M. H. M., and the Department of Health via a National Institute for Health Research comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre award to Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King's College London and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. TwinsUK is funded by the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Versus Arthritis, European Union Horizon 2020, Chronic Disease Research Foundation (CDRF), Zoe Global Ltd., and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)‐funded BioResource, Clinical Research Facility, and Biomedical Research Centre based at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King's College London. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Medical Virology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


King's Authors


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.

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