Several recent studies have revealed that SARS-CoV-2 antibodies deplete over time following infection and recovery. Some studies have reported that memory B-cells could provide durable humoral immunity even when serum antibody titers decline. New research has investigated the durability of B-cell immunity following SARS-CoV-2 infection and recovery. The researchers used a sensitive and precise flow-cytometry based assay for quantitating B-cells specific to the SARS-CoV-2 protein receptor-binding domain (S-RBD) as most human antibodies that neutralize viruses target this domain. Multi-dimensional flow cytometric analysis of memory B-cells specific to the S-RBD was performed.
The study included patients which were hospitalized and even those were not hospitalized due to COVID-19. The analysis was performed 39-104 days following the onset of symptoms. S-RBD-specific memory B-cells were found in 13 out of 14 patients. Interestingly, resting memory B-cells constituted the largest proportion of S-RBD-specific memory B-cells. Functional memory marker, FCRL5 was drastically upregulated on S-RBD-specific rMBC, especially in patients with mild disease. The least abundant S-RBD-specific memory B-cells were atypical memory B-cells. This provides evidence of durable B-cell mediated immunity against COVID-19 post-recovery.
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