Lack of Peripheral Memory B Cell Responses in Recovered Patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: A Six-Year Follow-Up Study

F Tang, Y Quan, ZT Xin, J Wrammert, MJ Ma, H Lv, TB Wang, H Yang, Jan hendrik Richardus, W (Wei) Liu, W-C Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

389 Citations (Scopus)


Six years have passed since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Previous studies indicated that specific Abs to SARS-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) waned over time in recovered SARS patients. It is critical to find out whether a potential anamnestic response, as seen with other viral infections, exists to protect a person from reinfection in case of another SARS outbreak. Recovered SARS patients were followed up to 6 y to estimate the longevity of specific Ab. The specific memory B cell and T cell responses to SARS-CoVAgs were measured by means of ELISPOTassay. Factors in relation to humoral and cellular immunity were investigated. Six years postinfection, specific IgG Ab to SARS-CoV became undetectable in 21 of the 23 former patients. No SARS-CoV Ag-specific memory B cell response was detected in either 23 former SARS patients or 22 close contacts of SARS patients. Memory T cell responses to a pool of SARS-CoV S peptides were identified in 14 of 23 (60.9%) recovered SARS patients, whereas there was no such specific response in either close contacts or healthy controls. Patients with more severe clinical manifestations seemed to present a higher level of Ag-specific memory T cell response. SARS-specific IgG Ab may eventually vanish and peripheral memory B cell responses are undetectable in recovered SARS patients. In contrast, specific T cell anamnestic responses can be maintained for at least 6 y. These findings have applications in preparation for the possible reemergence of SARS. The Journal of Immunology, 2011, 186: 7264-7268.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)7264-7268
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-02-65-01

Cite this