T-cell immunity and antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 among individuals registered in the Bangkok home health care service

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

In a recent article published in Scientific Reports, researchers performed an observational study among coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and their close contacts registered with the Bangkok home health care services in Thailand. They assessed their T-cell and neutralizing antibody responses six months after exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Study: Hybrid and herd immunity 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 exposure among individuals from a community treatment program. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock
Study: Hybrid and herd immunity 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 exposure among individuals from a community treatment program. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock

Background

By late 2022, 75% of Thailand's population had been vaccinated, mostly with viral vector and messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-technologies-based COVID-19 vaccines. Yet, the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant infected 5% of the country's population, but thankfully the death rate was lower than the observed death rate during Delta predominance era (120 vs. 300 per day).

Researchers expected people in Thailand would develop herd immunity following mass vaccination via vaccine- or prior infection-induced hybrid immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. They also hypothesized that the lower death rate during the 2022 Omicron outbreak in Thailand might have been due to herd immunity, hybrid immunity, and the lower virulence of Omicron.

Moreover, close contacts of infected cases developed T-cell immunity against SARS-CoV-2, which kept COVID-19-related death rates in Bangkok low, even among cases treated at home care centers. However, reluctance to receive the vaccine and the advent of new immune-evading SARS-CoV-2 variants hindered meeting the herd immunity threshold.

About the study

In the present study, researchers collected blood samples from all 79 participants from 15 families invited randomly from different metropolitan areas of Bangkok. Of these, 34 individuals had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 approximately four weeks before recruitment into this study, whereas 45 COVID-19 cases were their close contacts.

A minimum of one SARS-CoV-2-infected patient in each participating family had to be a registered member of a home health care center in Bangkok between 1 and 31 August 2021, having at least one asymptomatic close contact living in the same care center. The researchers analyzed the T-cell response using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISpot) assay.

Study findings

During SARS-CoV-2 exposure, COVID-19 patients and their close contact(s) in each family coinhabited the same healthcare home, with an area of approximately 200 m2. The study population comprised 15 families with 11 members in each family, and 58% were females. Over 90% of members were under 60, and 81% had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30. In addition, one-fifth of the study participants, 26.5% of the patients and 15.5% of their close contacts, had comorbidities that increased their risk of progression to severe COVID-19.

The researchers observed a positive T-cell response to the Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) antigen in 11 of 45 cases, i.e., 24.4% of close contacts, indicating prior infection. Strikingly, these 11 cases that exhibited T-cell responses were most likely asymptomatic.

Furthermore, the researchers noted a substantial drop in receptor-binding domain (RBD) immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels of unvaccinated patients at six months after SARS-CoV-2 exposure, and that of close contacts was comparable. Interestingly, RBD IgG levels increased in a dose-dependent way, but the T-cell response did not, a state termed "T-cell exhaustion."

Conversely, the researchers noted a decrease in T-cell responses against the S antigen increased as vaccine doses, i.e., with the third or fourth booster. Thankfully, studies have demonstrated T-cell responses against the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant rapidly reactivated three months after boosting. Vaccine type might have confounded these responses.

Notably, 75% of the study participants had received an inactivated or viral vector vaccine approximately three-and-a-half months before recruitment into this study. On the other hand, less than one-third of the participants had received a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine around a month before study recruitment. Therefore, clinicians should closely monitor infection early after boosting and administering multiple vaccine doses with special considerations, especially in cases with a poor T-cell response.

Conclusions

Overall, the observed T cell and antibody responses indicated hybrid immunity among vaccinated patients with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and herd immunity among unvaccinated patients with prior COVID-19. Likewise, vaccinated close contacts with no history of COVID-19 had herd immunity.

Most importantly, nine unvaccinated close contacts also showed a T-cell response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) antigen. Perhaps, they developed herd immunity from an episode of asymptomatic infection. More importantly, with reduced neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant, a T-cell-based vaccine is needed that could generate diverse memory B cells against SARS-CoV-2.

Journal reference:
Neha Mathur

Written by

Neha Mathur

Neha is a digital marketing professional based in Gurugram, India. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Rajasthan with a specialization in Biotechnology in 2008. She has experience in pre-clinical research as part of her research project in The Department of Toxicology at the prestigious Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, India. She also holds a certification in C++ programming.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mathur, Neha. (2023, January 18). T-cell immunity and antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 among individuals registered in the Bangkok home health care service. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 25, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20230118/T-cell-immunity-and-antibody-responses-against-SARS-CoV-2-among-individuals-registered-in-the-Bangkok-home-health-care-service.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mathur, Neha. "T-cell immunity and antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 among individuals registered in the Bangkok home health care service". News-Medical. 25 May 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20230118/T-cell-immunity-and-antibody-responses-against-SARS-CoV-2-among-individuals-registered-in-the-Bangkok-home-health-care-service.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mathur, Neha. "T-cell immunity and antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 among individuals registered in the Bangkok home health care service". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20230118/T-cell-immunity-and-antibody-responses-against-SARS-CoV-2-among-individuals-registered-in-the-Bangkok-home-health-care-service.aspx. (accessed May 25, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mathur, Neha. 2023. T-cell immunity and antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 among individuals registered in the Bangkok home health care service. News-Medical, viewed 25 May 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20230118/T-cell-immunity-and-antibody-responses-against-SARS-CoV-2-among-individuals-registered-in-the-Bangkok-home-health-care-service.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Novel bispecific antibodies show promise against evolving SARS-CoV-2 variants