There are a number of studies emerging that show people infected with SARS-CoV-2 make robust T cell responses that target the spike protein, membrane antigens and nucleocapsid, with immunodominant responses against spike (See table below). With recent findings that neutralising antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 wane rapidly after peak symptoms, is there evidence that T cell memory responses linger for longer? A recent perspective article in Science poses this question and provides evidence about the type and duration of T cell responses. An intriguing question is whether the asymptomatic nature of infection in children is possibly due to cross-reactive T cell responses from other Coronaviruses in circulation. There are currently no answers to any of these questions and represents a fertile ground for research. It will also be important to assess whether pending vaccine-induced responses are antibody-mediated or due to the elicitation of a T cell response. In other words, would vaccine-induced T cell immunity represent a mechanism of protection and antibodies a correlate of protection?
Journal Article: Altman & Boyton. 2020. SARS-CoV-2 T cell immunity: Specificity, function, durability, and role in protection. Science Immunology
Summary by Clive Gray