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Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Specific Memory B cells to Delineate Long-Term COVID-19 Immunity
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  • Constantin Thieme,
  • Mohamed Abou-el-Enein,
  • Enrico Fritsche,
  • Moritz Anft,
  • Sarah Skrzypczyk,
  • Adrian-Atila-Nicolas Doevelaar,
  • Magdi Elsallab,
  • Nicola Brindle,
  • Krystallenia Paniskaki,
  • Felix Seibert,
  • Oliver Witzke,
  • Timm Westhoff,
  • Ulrik Stervbo,
  • Guido Heine,
  • Toralf Roch,
  • Nina Babel
Constantin Thieme
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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Mohamed Abou-el-Enein
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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Enrico Fritsche
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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Moritz Anft
Marien Hospital Herne Academic Teaching Hospital of the University Bochum
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Sarah Skrzypczyk
Marien Hospital Herne Academic Teaching Hospital of the University Bochum
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Adrian-Atila-Nicolas Doevelaar
Marien Hospital Herne Academic Teaching Hospital of the University Bochum
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Magdi Elsallab
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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Nicola Brindle
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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Krystallenia Paniskaki
University Hospital Essen
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Felix Seibert
Marien Hospital Herne Academic Teaching Hospital of the University Bochum
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Oliver Witzke
University Hospital Essen
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Timm Westhoff
Marien Hospital Herne Academic Teaching Hospital of the University Bochum
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Ulrik Stervbo
Marien Hospital Herne Academic Teaching Hospital of the University Bochum
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Guido Heine
University Hospital Schleswig Holstein
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Toralf Roch
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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Nina Babel
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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Abstract

Background: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, represents a serious worldwide health concern. A deeper understanding of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 will be required to refine vaccine development and efficacy as well as to evaluate long-term immunity in convalescent patients. With this in mind, we investigated the formation of SARS-CoV-2 specific BMEMORY cells from patient blood samples. Methods: A standard flow cytometry-based protocol for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 specific B cells was applied using fluorochrome-coupled SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) full-length protein. Cohorts of 26 central European convalescent mild/moderate COVID-19 patients and 14 healthy donors were assessed for the levels of SARS-CoV-2 S- specific BMEMORY cells. Results: Overall B cell composition was not affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection in convalescent patients. Our analysis of SARS-CoV-2 specific BMEMORY cells in samples collected at different time points revealed that S-protein specific B cells remain in peripheral blood at least up to 6 months after COVID-19 diagnosis. Conclusions: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 specific BMEMORY cells may improve our understanding of the long-term adaptive immunity in response to SARS-CoV-2, allowing for an improved public health response and vaccine development during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further validation of the study in larger and more diverse populations and a more extended observation period will be required.