BIDMC researchers define immune system’s requirements for protection against COVID-19

Findings are important for vaccines, therapeutics and public health strategies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic
Beth Israel Lahey Health

Newswise — Boston, Mass. – Since the novel coronavirus emerged at the end of last year, scientists around the world — including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) immunologist Dan Barouch, MD, PhD — have been developing vaccines to protect against COVID-19 and to put an end to the global pandemic. As of November 2020, three pharmaceutical companies released early data showing high rates of protection in Phase 3 human trials for their vaccines, but questions remain about how the body develops and maintains immunity after vaccination or infection.

In a new paper in the journal Nature, Barouch, Director of BIDMC’s Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, and colleagues shed light on the role of antibodies and immune cells in protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in rhesus macaques. “In this study, we define the role of antibodies versus T cells in protection against COVID-19 in monkeys.  We report that a relatively low antibody titer (the concentration of antibodies in the blood) is needed for protection,” said Barouch. “Such knowledge will be important in the development of next generation vaccines, antibody-based therapeutics, and public health strategies for COVID-19.”

Building on previous findings that SARS-CoV-2 infection protects rhesus monkeys from re-exposure, Barouch and colleagues purified and collected antibodies from animals that had recovered from infection. They administered the antibodies at various concentrations to 12 uninfected macaques and observed that protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge was dose dependent.  Animals that received higher amounts of antibodies were protected more completely, while animals that received lower amounts of antibodies were protected less well. Similarly, when the researchers administered various concentrations of the purified antibodies to 6 macaques with active SARS-CoV-2 infection, those given higher doses demonstrated more rapid viral control.

In a second set of experiments, Barouch and colleagues evaluated the role of specific immune cells — CD8+ T cells — in contributing to protection against the virus by removing these cells from animals that had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Removal of these immune cells left the animals vulnerable to infection after re-exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

“Our data define the role of antibodies and T cells in protection against COVID-19 in monkeys.  Antibodies alone can protect, including at relatively low levels, but T cells are also helpful if antibody levels are insufficient,” said Barouch, who is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. “Such correlates of protection are important given the recent successful vaccine results from human trials, and the likelihood that these and other vaccines will become widely available in the spring; as a result future vaccines may need to be licensed based on immune correlates rather than clinical efficacy.”

Co-authors include co-first author Katherine McMahan, co-first author Jingyou Yu, co-first author Noe B. Mercado, co-first author Lisa H. Tostanoski, co-first author Abishek Chandrashekar, co-first author Jinyan Liu , co-first author Lauren Peter, Esther A. Bondzie, Gabriel Dagotto, Makda S. Gebre, Catherine Jacob-Dolan, Zhenfeng Li, Felix Nampanya, and Shivani Patel of BIDMC; co-first author Carolin Loos, Caroline Atyeo, Alex Zhu, and Galit Alter, of Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard; Laurent Pessaint, Alex Van Ry, Kelvin Blade, Jake Yalley-Ogunro, Mehtap Cabus, Renita Brown, Anthony Cook, Elyse Teow, Hanne Andersen, Mark G. Lewis, of Bioqual; and Douglas A. Lauffenburger of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This work was supported by the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Mark and Lisa Schwartz Foundation, Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness (MassCPR), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (INV-006131), and the National Institutes of Health (OD024917, AI129797, AI124377, AI128751, AI126603, CA260476).

The authors declare no financial conflicts of interest. Barouch is a co-inventor on provisional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine patents (62/969,008; 62/994,630).

 

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding.

BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.org.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a new health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,000 physicians and 35,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.

 

# # #

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY

MEDIA CONTACT
Register for reporter access to contact details
CITATIONS

Nature; INV-006131; OD024917; AI129797; AI124377; AI128751; AI126603; CA260476




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4573
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:40 PM EST
Research Links Social Isolation to COVID-19 Protocol Resistance
Humboldt State University

As health officials continue to implore the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, recent research by Humboldt State University Psychology Professor Amber Gaffney provides key insights into connections between social isolation, conspiratorial thinking, and resistance to COVID-19 protocols.

Newswise: Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:35 PM EST
Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Washington University in St. Louis

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a relatively simple and rapid blood test can predict which patients with COVID-19 are at highest risk of severe complications or death. The blood test measures levels of mitochondrial DNA, which normally resides inside the energy factories of cells. Mitochondrial DNA spilling out of cells and into the bloodstream is a sign that a particular type of violent cell death is taking place in the body.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:55 PM EST
COVID-19 deaths really are different. But best practices for ICU care should still apply, studies suggest.
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

COVID-19 deaths are indeed different from other lung failure deaths, according to two recent studies, with 56% of COVID-19 patients dying primarily from the lung damage caused by the virus, compared with 22% of those whose lungs fail due to other causes. But, the researchers conclude, the kind of care needed to help sustain people through the worst cases of all forms of lung failure is highly similar, and just needs to be fine-tuned.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:50 PM EST
45% of adults over 65 lack online medical accounts that could help them sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

As the vaccination of older adults against COVID-19 begins across the country, new poll data suggests that many of them don’t yet have access to the “patient portal” online systems that could make it much easier for them to schedule a vaccination appointment. In all, 45% of adults aged 65 to 80 had not set up an account with their health provider’s portal system.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 1:30 PM EST
New England Journal of Medicine publishes COVID-19 treatment trial results
University of Texas at San Antonio

A clinical trial involving COVID-19 patients hospitalized at UT Health San Antonio and University Health, among roughly 100 sites globally, found that a combination of the drugs baricitinib and remdesivir reduced time to recovery, according to results published Dec. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:40 PM EST
DNA test can quickly identify pneumonia in patients with severe COVID-19, aiding faster treatment
University of Cambridge

Researchers have developed a DNA test to quickly identify secondary infections in COVID-19 patients, who have double the risk of developing pneumonia while on ventilation than non-COVID-19 patients.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:30 PM EST
Fight CRC To Present Research Findings on The Impact of COVID-19 on the Colorectal Cancer Community at 2021 GI ASCO
Fight Colorectal Cancer

Fight Colorectal Cancer presents abstract at Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium highlighting the need to address the barriers and opportunities for care within the colorectal cancer community during the COVID-19 pandemic

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:25 PM EST
Technion to Award Honorary Doctorate to Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla
American Technion Society

Israel's Technion will award an honorary doctorate to Pfizer CEO and Chairman Dr. Albert Bourla, for leading the development of the novel vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The honorary doctorate will be conferred at the Technion Board of Governors meeting in November 2021.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 11:30 AM EST
UW researchers develop tool to equitably distribute limited vaccines
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health have developed a tool that incorporates a person’s age and socioeconomic status to prioritize vaccine distribution among people who otherwise share similar risks due to their jobs.


Showing results

110 of 4573

close
1.02524