Högelin KA, Ruffin N, Pin E, Månberg A, Hober S, Gafvelin G, Grönlund H, Nilsson P, Khademi M, Olsson T, Piehl F, Al Nimer F
iScience - (-) 103078 [2021-09-02; online 2021-09-02]
B-cell depleting therapies (BCDTs) are widely used as immunomodulating agents for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Their possible impact on development of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 has raised concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. We here evaluated the frequency of COVID-19-like symptoms and determined immunological responses in participants of an observational trial comprising several multiple sclerosis disease modulatory drugs, (COMBAT-MS; NCT03193866) and in eleven patients after vaccination, with a focus on BCDT. Almost all seropositive and 17.9% of seronegative patients on BCDT, enriched for a history of COVID-19-like symptoms, developed anti-SARS-CoV-2 T-cell memory and T-cells displayed functional similarity to controls producing IFN-γ and TNF. Following vaccination, vaccine-specific humoral memory was impaired, while all patients developed a specific T-cell response. These results indicate that BCDTs do not abrogate SARS-CoV-2 cellular memory and provide a possible explanation as to why the majority of patients on BCDTs recover from COVID-19.
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