Development of Humoral and Cellular Immunological Memory Against SARS-CoV-2 Despite B-Cell Depleting Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis
102 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2021 Publication Status: Review CompleteMore...
B-cell depleting therapies are widely used as immunomodulating agents for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The possible impact of B-cell depletion on development of humoral and cellular immunity to viruses and specifically SARS-CoV-2 has raised concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. We here determined humoral and cellular responses in participants of an observational trial comprising several multiple sclerosis disease modulatory drugs (COMBAT-MS; NCT03193866). Patients on B-cell depleting treatment, who previously had COVID-19-like symptoms, developed anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and/or T-cell memory irrespective of their B-cell depletion status. Furthermore, antibody titers were similar to those observed with other treatments or controls, and anti-SARS-CoV-2 T-cells displayed functional similarity to controls producing IFN-γ and TNF. These results inform on the role of B- and T-cells in SARS-CoV-2 immunity and provide evidence that B-cell depleting therapy does not substantially abrogate SARS-CoV-2 immunological memory, in turn suggesting a low risk for reinfection and potentially responsiveness to vaccination.
Funding: The COMBAT-MS study is funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Award (MS-1511-33196), modified to include the sub-study reported herein. Additional funding was obtained from the Swedish Medical Research council (grant no. 2017-03054), Swedish Brain Foundation, NEURO Sweden, Tetra Laval, Region Stockholm, Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation, Erling-Persson family foundation and Petrus och Augusta Hedlunds Stiftelse.
Conflict of Interest: Tomas Olsson has received unrestricted grants for extended multiplesclerosis studies in relation to COVID-19 from Biogen and Merck. Not related to this manuscript, T. O. has received unrestricted grants, advisory board/ lectures from Biogen, Merck, Novartis, and Sanofi and F. P. has received research grants from Genzyme, Merck KGaA and UCB, and fees for serving as Chair of DMC in clinical trials with Parexel. All other authors declare no competing interests.
Ethical Approval: Study procedures were conducted under the following ethical permits approved by the Swedish ethical review authority; COMBAT-MS: 2017/32-31/4; STOPMSII: 2009/2107-31/2; 2020 00052, with written informed consent from participants.
Keywords: [comma separated]SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, B-cells, T-cells, humoral memory, cellular memory, multiple sclerosis, B-cell depletion, rituximab
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