Memory B cells indicate durable immunity in COVID-19

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted intensive research into new vaccines and therapies, as well as into the immunological basis of protection. Now a new study by researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University and published recently on the preprint server medRxiv* in September 2020 shows that memory B cells are upregulated in convalescent COVID-19 patients, correlating with a better immune response and shorter symptom duration.

The Role of Memory Cells

Immunological memory is a vital part of durable specific immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Based on earlier research, which shows COVID-19 patients to have altered immune profiles that can be grouped into one of several clusters, the current study focuses on finding cell-based immune markers for better clinical outcomes in convalescent plasma samples.

B cells respond to viral antigens by first secreting germline or near-germline antibodies from plasmablasts outside the follicles. Once the T cells bind to the CD40 surface markers, leading to the stimulation of specific cytokines, B cells enter a process called class switching. As a result, they are now found within the germinal centers inside several lymphoid organs and mature functionally. This leads to the production of both long-lived plasma cells and memory B cells …

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