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Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register
Study record
Dykema 2022First Published: 2022 May 13Updated Date: 2022 May 13

SARS-CoV-2 vaccination diversifies the CD4+ spike-reactive T cell repertoire in patients with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection

  1. Study Type
  2. Observational
  1. Study Aim
  2. Diagnostic/Prognostic
  3. Prevention
  1. Study Design
  2. Other
  1. Intervention Assignment
  2. Not Applicable
Reference record

SARS-CoV-2 vaccination diversifies the CD4+ spike-reactive T cell repertoire in patients with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection

Dykema AG, Zhang B, Woldemeskel BA, Garliss CC, Rashid R, Westlake T, Zhang L, Zhang J, Cheung LS, Caushi JX, Pardoll DM, Cox AL, Ji H, Smith KN, Blankson JN
Journal article
Report Results
BACKGROUND: COVID-19 mRNA vaccines elicit strong T and B cell responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein in both SARS-CoV-2 naive and experienced patients. However, it is unknown whether the post-vaccine CD4+ T cell responses seen in patients with a history of COVID-19 are due to restimulation of T cell clonotypes that were first activated during natural infection or if they are the result of new clones activated by the vaccine. METHODS: To address this question, we analyzed the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein-specific CD4+ T cell receptor repertoire before and after vaccination in 10 COVID-19 convalescent patients and 4 SARS-CoV-2 naive healthy donor vaccine recipients. We used the viral Functional Expansion of Specific T cells (ViraFEST) assay to quantitatively identify specific SARS-CoV-2 and common cold coronavirus CD4+ T cell clonotypes post COVID-19 disease resolution and post mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. FINDINGS: We found that while some preexisting T cell receptor clonotypes persisted, the post-vaccine repertoire consisted mainly of vaccine-induced clones and was largely distinct from the repertoire induced by natural infection. Vaccination-induced clones led to an overall maintenance of the total number of SARS-CoV-2 reactive clonotypes over time through expansion of novel clonotypes only stimulated through vaccination. Additionally, we demonstrated that the vaccine preferentially induces T cells that are only specific for SARS-CoV-2 antigens, rather than T cells that cross-recognize SARS-CoV-2/common cold coronaviruses. INTERPRETATION: These data demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection induces a new antigen-specific repertoire and sheds light on the differential immune responses induced by vaccination versus natural infection. FUNDING: Bloomberg∼Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, The Johns Hopkins University, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NCI U54CA260492, NIH