The SARS-CoV-2 virus is causing a global pandemic and cases continue to rise. Most infected individuals experience mildly symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but it is unknown whether this can induce persistent immune memory that could contribute to immunity.
In this paper, published on Cell, it’s performed a longitudinal assessment of individuals recovered from mild COVID-19 to determine if they develop and sustain multifaceted SARS-CoV-2-specific immunological memory.
Recovered individuals developed SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibodies, neutralizing plasma, memory B and memory T cells that persisted for at least three months.
These data further reveal that SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG memory B cells increased over time. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2-specific memory lymphocytes exhibited characteristics associated with potent antiviral function: memory T cells secreted cytokines and expanded upon antigen re-encounter, while memory B cells expressed receptors capable of neutralizing virus when expressed as monoclonal antibodies.
Therefore, mild COVID-19 elicits memory lymphocytes that persist and display functional hallmarks of antiviral immunity.