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SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses are lower in children and increase with age and time after infection
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-18, 03:50 authored by CA Cohen, APY Li, A Hachim, DSC Hui, MYW Kwan, OTY Tsang, SS Chiu, WH Chan, YS Yau, N Kavian, FNL Ma, EHY Lau, SMS Cheng, LLM Poon, M Peiris, SA Valkenburg
SARS-CoV-2 infection of children leads to a mild illness and the immunological differences with adults are unclear. Here, we report SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses in infected adults and children and find that the acute and memory CD4+ T cell responses to structural SARS-CoV-2 proteins increase with age, whereas CD8+ T cell responses increase with time post-infection. Infected children have lower CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 structural and ORF1ab proteins when compared with infected adults, comparable T cell polyfunctionality and reduced CD4+ T cell effector memory. Compared with adults, children have lower levels of antibodies to β-coronaviruses, indicating differing baseline immunity. Total T follicular helper responses are increased, whilst monocyte numbers are reduced, indicating rapid adaptive co-ordination of the T and B cell responses and differing levels of inflammation. Therefore, reduced prior β-coronavirus immunity and reduced T cell activation in children might drive milder COVID-19 pathogenesis.
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AdolescentAdultAge FactorsAgedAntibodies, ViralCD4-Positive T-LymphocytesCD8-Positive T-LymphocytesCOVID-19ChildChild, PreschoolFemaleHumansInfantInflammationLongitudinal StudiesMaleMiddle AgedSARS-CoV-2Young Adult3207 Medical Microbiology32 Biomedical and Clinical Sciences3204 ImmunologyImmunizationPneumonia & InfluenzaPreventionBiodefenseVaccine RelatedClinical ResearchLungEmerging Infectious DiseasesPneumoniaInfectious Diseases2.1 Biological and endogenous factors2 AetiologyInfectionInflammatory and immune system3 Good Health and Well Being