NP105-113-B*07:02-specific CD8+ T cell responses are considered among the most dominant in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals. We found strong association of this response with mild disease. Analysis of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell clones and single-cell sequencing were performed concurrently, with functional avidity and antiviral efficacy assessed using an in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection system, and were correlated with T cell receptor usage, transcriptome signature and disease severity (acute n = 77, convalescent n = 52). We demonstrated a beneficial association of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells in COVID-19 disease progression, linked with expansion of T cell precursors, high functional avidity and antiviral effector function. Broad immune memory pools were narrowed postinfection but NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells were maintained 6 months after infection with preserved antiviral efficacy to the SARS-CoV-2 Victoria strain, as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. Our data show that NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell responses associate with mild disease and high antiviral efficacy, pointing to inclusion for future vaccine design.
GrantsCancer Research UK UK Medical Research Council (MRC) Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (CIFMS), China National Institutes of Health, National Key R&D Program of China China Scholarship Council NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Schmidt Futures National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (UKRIDHSC COVID-19 Rapid Response Rolling Call) Huo Family Foundation UK-CIC DHSC (PITCH) Wellcome Investigator Award UK MRC Oxford Biomedical Research Centre UK RI