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MAIT cell activation and dynamics associated with COVID-19 disease severity

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Science Immunology  25 Sep 2020:
Vol. 5, Issue 51, eabe1670
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abe1670

Innate-like rapid responders

Viral infections elicit host responses from conventional T cells, innate lymphoid cells, and innate-like lymphocyte subsets. Parrot et al. used blood from acute and convalescent COVID-19 patients to investigate how SARS-CoV-2 infection affects the innate-like mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. Acute viral infection induced a profound decline in the number of blood MAIT cells and activation of the residual blood MAIT cells. The loss of circulating MAIT cells in acute COVID-19 patients coincided with enrichment of MAIT cells among T cells recovered from the respiratory tract. With convalescence, the number of blood MAIT cells and their activation status reverted toward normal. These findings indicate that circulating MAIT cells are mobilized early after SARS-CoV-2 infection and may contribute to both resolution and exacerbation of COVID-19–associated pneumonia.

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