IUIS Webinar: Respiratory Immunity and COVID-19


IUIS webinar by Donna Farber described respiratory immunity associated with COVID-19. Highlights from her talk include:

  • The importance of T cell differentiation and tissue localisation, particularly development of tissue resident memory (TRM) cells, in the maintenance of protective immunity against respiratory viruses. 
  • Research by Zhao et al., that demonstrate that airway TRM CD4 T cells play an important in role in protective immunity against SARS-CoV-1 infection
  • Description of two pathways that can induce lung immunopathology: (i) innate immune cell mediated cytokine release syndrome (CRS) which is very rapid, and (ii) T cell mediated immunopathology which is a delayed response.
  • Immune responses associated with different stages of COVID-19 severity, and potential therapeutics that could be used to reduce pathology. 

  • Studies that suggest that respiratory viral infections was associated high CD8:CD4 T cell ratios, which correlate with lung injury (ARDS) and inversely correlate with viral load.
  • Description of an ongoing study that aims to determine dynamics of respiratory and systematic immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well determine potential immune correlates of lung injury or disease severity. Preliminary results are highlighted below. 

Summary by Cheleka Mpande

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation