Robust and persistent b-and t-cell responses after covid-19 in immunocompetent and solid organ transplant recipient patients

Federica Zavaglio, Vanessa Frangipane, Monica Morosini, Elisa Gabanti, Paola Zelini, Josè Camilla Sammartino, Alessandro Ferrari, Marilena Gregorini, Teresa Rampino, Annalia Asti, Elena Seminari, Angela Di Matteo, Barbara Cattadori, Carlo Pellegrini, Stelvio Tonello, Venkata Ramana Mallela, Rosalba Minisini, Manuela Rizzi, Pier Paolo Sainaghi, Federica MeloniDaniele Lilleri, Fausto Baldanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development and persistence of SARS-CoV-2-specific immune response in immunocompetent (IC) and immunocompromised patients is crucial for long-term protection. Immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection was analysed in 57 IC and 15 solid organ transplanted (TX) patients. Antibody responses were determined by ELISA and neutralization assay. T-cell response was determined by stimulation with peptide pools of the Spike, Envelope, Membrane, and Nucleocapsid proteins with a 20-h Activation Induced Marker (AIM) and 7-day lymphoproliferative assays. Antibody response was detected at similar levels in IC and TX patients. Anti-Spike IgG, IgA and neutralizing antibodies persisted for at least one year, while anti-Nucleocapsid IgG declined earlier. Patients with pneumonia developed higher antibody levels than patients with mild symptoms. Similarly, both rapid and proliferative T-cell responses were detected within the first two months after infection at comparable levels in IC and TX patients, and were higher in patients with pneumonia. T-cell response persisted for at least one year in both IC and TX patients. Spike, Membrane, and Nucleocapsid proteins elicited the major CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses, whereas the T-cell response to Envelope protein was negligible. After SARS-CoV-2 infection, antibody and T-cell responses develop rapidly and persist over time in both immunocompetent and transplanted patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2261
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Antibody response
  • COVID-19
  • Cytokines
  • Immunocompetent patients
  • Membrane protein
  • Nucleocapsid protein
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike protein
  • T-cell response
  • Transplanted patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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