Join us at our Webinar


October 2, 2020

14:20 -14:55

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Speaker: Alexander Scheffold

Chair: Elmar Endl, DGfZ and Thomas Bauer

Pre-existing T cell memory as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 in the elderly

Alexander Scheffold and Petra Bacher
Institute of Immunology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) displays high clinical variability but the parameters that determine disease severity of COVID-19 are unclear. Pre-existing T-cell memory generated by frequent infections with related “common cold” Corona-virus (CCCoV) has been hypothesized as protective mechanism, but conclusive evidence is lacking. We used antigen-reactive T cell enrichment (ARTE) a sensitive technology to identify antigen-reactive T cells, for deep profiling of SARS-CoV-2 and CCCoV-specific T cells from healthy donors and COVID-19 patients, employing multiparameter cytometry, single cell gene expression profiling and TCR avidity and cross-reactivity measurements. The data I will present suggest that pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 specific memory is not primarily induced by CCCoV and is not protective but mainly increased in the elderly. Pre-existing memory may instead contribute to severe COVID19 disease observed in this age group.


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