Home > Haematology > ASH 2020 > COVID-19 > Allogeneic SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells to treat COVID-19

Allogeneic SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells to treat COVID-19

Presented by
Dr Spyridoula Vasileiou, Baylor College of Medicine, USA
ASH 2020
SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells, generated from convalescent individuals, were found to be Th1-polarised, polyfunctional, and selectively able to kill viral antigen-expressing targets. No evidence of auto- or alloreactivity was found. These recent findings are indicative of both the selectivity and safety of the virus-specific T cells for clinical use [1].

Approximately 20% of COVID-19 patients develop severe disease that can evolve into acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), leading to respiratory or multiorgan failure with an overall mortality of up to 4%. Older age and comorbidities such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease, and immune deficiency have been associated with poor prognosis [2,3]. For example, in immunocompromised patients who received a haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT), mortality rates as high as 20% have been reported [4].

Protective role of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells

Growing evidence suggests that T cells have a protective role in combating COVID-19. Reduced counts and dysregulation are observed more prominently in individuals with severe compared with mild COVID-19 [5].

Dr Spyridoula Vasileiou (Baylor College of Medicine, USA) and colleagues have previously demonstrated the feasibility, safety, and clinical efficacy of administering allogeneic ex vivo expanded multivirus-specific T cells for the treatment of other viral infections in immunocompromised individuals. Given the lack of preventative or therapeutic agents and the emerging evidence of the pivotal protective role of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4-postive and CD8-positive T cells, they explored the feasibility of developing a banked, SARS-CoV-2-specific virus-specific T cell product to treat individuals at highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease, such as HSCT recipients, elderly individuals, and patients with comorbidities [1].

The investigators are rapidly advancing this product to the clinic for administration in a randomised clinical trial to prevent the development of severe disease in high-risk hospitalised patients.

  1. Vasileiou S, et al. Using Allogeneic, Off-the-Shelf, Sars-Cov-2-Specific T Cells to Treat High Risk Patients with COVID-19. 62nd ASH Annual Meeting, 5-8 December 2020. Abstract 612.
  2. Yang Y, et al. Virol J. 2020;17:117
  3. Samudrala PK, et al. Eur J Pharmacol. 2020;883:173375.
  4. COVID-19 Reported Data as of 1/11/21. cibmtr.org/COVID19.
  5. Diao B, et al. Front Immunol. 2020;11:827

Posted on