Immunocompromised Patients Show Robust T-Cell Activity Against SARS-CoV-2

A small group of patients with antibody deficiencies were able to mount an immune response to COVID-19.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, has discovered that adults and pediatric patients who are deficient in antibodies showed robust T-cell and humoral immunity activity against SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins.

Results from the study were published in the Journal of Clinical immunology.

"If T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 are indeed protective, then it could suggest that adoptive T-cell immunotherapy might benefit more profoundly immunocompromised patients," Michael Keller, director of the Translational Research Laboratory in the Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy at Children's National said. "Through our developing phase I T-cell immunotherapy protocol, we intend to investigate if coronavirus-specific T-cells may be protective following bone marrow transplantation, as well as in other immunodeficient populations."

The team of investigators took blood samples from 5 patients who had antibody deficiencies and had developed a mild case of COVID-19 and 1 who was asymptomatic. Four of the participants were a family, with the father and an incidental adult being the controls for the study.

Findings from the study showed that the participants who had antibody deficiency disorders, which included inborn errors of immunity and common variable immunodeficiency, were able to mount an immune response to the virus.

The investigators believe this data suggests that those who have antibody deficiencies are able to respond to vaccinations for COVID-19, although further studies will need to determine how protective and how long the immunity will last.

"This was a small group of patients, but given the high proportion of responses, it does suggest that many of our antibody deficient patients are likely to mount immune responses to SARS-CoV-2," Keller said. "Additional studies are needed to know whether other patients with primary immunodeficiency develop immunity following COVID-19 infection and will likely be answered by a large international collaboration organized by our collaborators at the Garvan Institute in Sydney."