Early immune markers of clinical, virological, and immunological outcomes in patients with COVID-19: a multi-omics study.
The great majority of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections are mild and uncomplicated, but some individuals with initially mild COVID-19 progressively develop more severe symptoms. Furthermore, there is substantial heterogeneity in SARS-CoV-2-specific memory immune responses following infection. There remains a critical need to identify host immune biomarkers predictive of clinical and immunological outcomes in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients.
Leveraging longitudinal samples and data from a clinical trial (N=108) in SARS-CoV-2-infected outpatients, we used host proteomics and transcriptomics to characterize the trajectory of the immune response in COVID-19 patients. We characterized the association between early immune markers and subsequent disease progression, control of viral shedding, and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell and antibody responses measured up to 7 months after enrollment. We further compared associations between early immune markers and subsequent T cell and antibody responses following natural infection with those following mRNA vaccination. We developed machine-learning models to predict patient outcomes and validated the predictive model using data from 54 individuals enrolled in an independent clinical trial.
We identify early immune signatures, including plasma RIG-I levels, early IFN signaling, and related cytokines (CXCL10, MCP1, MCP-2, and MCP-3) associated with subsequent disease progression, control of viral shedding, and the SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell and antibody response measured up to 7 months after enrollment. We found that several biomarkers for immunological outcomes are shared between individuals receiving BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine and COVID-19 patients. Finally, we demonstrate that machine-learning models using 2-7 plasma protein markers measured early within the course of infection are able to accurately predict disease progression, T cell memory, and the antibody response post-infection in a second, independent dataset.
Early immune signatures following infection can accurately predict clinical and immunological outcomes in outpatients with COVID-19 using validated machine-learning models.
Support for the study was provided from National Institute of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID) (U01 AI150741-01S1 and T32-AI052073), the Stanford's Innovative Medicines Accelerator, National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA) DP1DA046089, and anonymous donors to Stanford University. Peginterferon lambda provided by Eiger BioPharmaceuticals.