Evolution of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in mild-moderate COVID-19

Adam K. Wheatley, Jennifer A. Juno, Jing Jing Wang, Kevin Selva, Arnold Reynaldi, Hyon-Xhi Tan, Wen Shi Lee, Kathleen M. Wragg, Hannah G. Kelly, Robyn Esterbauer, Samantha K. Davis, Helen E. Kent, Francesca L. Mordant, Timothy E. Schlub, David Gordon, David S. Khoury, Kanta Subbarao, Deborah Cromer, Tom Gordon, Amy W. ChungMiles P. Davenport, Stephen J. Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


The durability of infection-induced SARS-CoV-2 immunity has major implications for reinfection and vaccine development. Here, we show a comprehensive profile of antibody, B cell and T cell dynamics over time in a cohort of patients who have recovered from mild-moderate COVID-19. Binding and neutralising antibody responses, together with individual serum clonotypes, decay over the first 4 months post-infection. A similar decline in Spike-specific CD4+ and circulating T follicular helper frequencies occurs. By contrast, S-specific IgG+ memory B cells consistently accumulate over time, eventually comprising a substantial fraction of circulating the memory B cell pool. Modelling of the concomitant immune kinetics predicts maintenance of serological neutralising activity above a titre of 1:40 in 50% of convalescent participants to 74 days, although there is probably additive protection from B cell and T cell immunity. This study indicates that SARS-CoV-2 immunity after infection might be transiently protective at a population level. Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines might require greater immunogenicity and durability than natural infection to drive long-term protection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1162
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2021


  • CD4-positive T cells
  • Immunological memory
  • Viral infection


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in mild-moderate COVID-19'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this