SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses

Originally published December 16, 2021, updated December 1, 2022


In patients with autoimmune disorders, the development of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination may be impaired by the disease itself as well as by the immunosuppressive treatments most patients receive.

Contrary to the authors’ expectations, a recent study showed that patients with rheumatic diseases showed T cell responses after COVID-19 recovery that were comparable to a control group without rheumatic disease or immunosuppressants (Lledo et al. Semin. Arthritis Rheum., 2021). Regardless of immunosuppressive regimen, the authors came to the same conclusion: T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 antigens are present after COVID-19 recovery in most patients with rheumatic diseases and are not impaired by immunosuppressive therapies.

The investigation involved Mabtech IRIS, human IFN-γ FluoroSpot and our S1 scanning pool. For details on the experimental setup, please refer to the paper.

In a similar study, but on patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and after mRNA vaccination instead of natural infection, authors Achiron et al. (J. Neuroimmunol. 2021) showed that memory B cell IgG responses differed depending on immunosuppressive regimen.

Using Mabtech IRIS, and our Path kits ELISpot Path: SARS-CoV-2 (RBD) Human IgG (ALP) and FluoroSpot Path: SARS-CoV-2 (S1scan+SNMO) Human IFN-γ/IL-2 the researchers could show that the patient group treated with ocrelizumab (humanized anti-CD20 mAb) had very low numbers of memory B cells but a memory T cell response equivalent to healthy donors. The patient group treated with fingolimod (immunomodulator), however, showed poor numbers of B and T memory cells.

Thus, the authors conclude that MS patient groups treated with these two regimens should be considered for a booster vaccine dose.


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Highlighted research ELISpotFluoroSpotAutoimmunitySARS-CoV-2Mabtech IRISPublication