Convalescent COVID-19 Patients Without Comorbidities Display Similar Immunophenotypes Over Time Despite Divergent Disease Severities

Chang-Feng Chu, Florian Sabath, Silvia Fibi-Smetana, Shan Sun, Rupert Öllinger, Elfriede Noeßner, Ying-Yin Chao, Linus Rinke, Elena Winheim, Roland Rad, Anne B. Krug, Leila Taher, Christina E. Zielinski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, can assume a highly variable disease course, ranging from asymptomatic infection, which constitutes the majority of cases, to severe respiratory failure. This implies a diverse host immune response to SARS-CoV-2. However, the immunological underpinnings underlying these divergent disease courses remain elusive. We therefore set out to longitudinally characterize immune signatures of convalescent COVID-19 patients stratified according to their disease severity. Our unique convalescent COVID-19 cohort consists of 74 patients not confounded by comorbidities. This is the first study of which we are aware that excludes immune abrogations associated with non-SARS-CoV-2 related risk factors of disease severity. Patients were followed up and analyzed longitudinally (2, 4 and 6 weeks after infection) by high-dimensional flow cytometric profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), in-depth serum analytics, and transcriptomics. Immune phenotypes were correlated to disease severity. Convalescence was overall associated with uniform immune signatures, but distinct immune signatures for mildly versus severely affected patients were detectable within a 2-week time window after infection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number601080
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2021


  • COVID-19, T cells, SARS-CoV-2, immunomonitoring, disease severity assessment
  • COVID-19
  • immunomonitoring
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • T cells
  • disease severity assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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