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See below for a selection of our latest papers and reviews!

Check here for a complete list of publications.

The magnitude and timing of recalled immunity after breakthrough infection is shaped by SARS-CoV-2 variants

Wen Shi Lee, Marios Koutsakos et al

Immunity; in press 

Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 protects from infection and improves clinical outcomes in breakthrough infections, likely reflecting residual vaccine-elicited immunity and recall of immunological memory. Here, we define the early kinetics of spike-specific humoral and cellular immunity after vaccination of seropositive individuals and after Delta or Omicron breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals. Early longitudinal sampling revealed the timing and magnitude of recall, with the phenotypic activation of B cells preceding an increase in neutralizing antibody titers. While vaccination of seropositive individuals resulted in robust recall of humoral and T cell immunity, recall of vaccine-elicited responses was delayed and variable in magnitude during breakthrough infections and depended on the infecting variant of concern. While the delayed kinetics of immune recall provides a potential mechanism for the lack of early control of viral replication, the recall of antibodies coincided with viral clearance and likely underpins the protective effects of vaccination against severe COVID-19.

Lung-resident memory B cells established after pulmonary influenza infection display distinct transcriptional and phenotypic profiles

Hyon Xhi Tan et al

Science Immunology; Vol7 Issue67 (2022) 

Antigen-experienced memory B cells (MBCs) can take up long-term residency in tissues, yet how B resident memory cells (BRM) are recruited and retained in tissues is not well understood. Tan et al. used a murine influenza infection model to characterize BRM in the lung. Influenza-specific BRM expressed lung residency markers CXCR3, CCR6, and CD69, were located in inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue, and had transcriptional profiles distinct from circulating or splenic MBCs. CCR6 expression on BRM facilitated recruitment, retention, and recall in the lung. Human influenza-specific BRM were also transcriptionally distinct to circulating or lymph node MBCs and highly expressed CCR6 and CXCR3, as well as CD69. These findings demonstrate that influenza infection induces a distinct population of BRM in the lungs of mice and humans

Establishment and recall of SARS-CoV-2 spike epitope-specific CD4+ T cell memory

Kathleen Wragg, Wen Shi Lee, Marios Koutsakos et al

Nature Immunology; 23, pages 768–780 (2022)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and vaccination elicit CD4+ T cell responses to the spike protein, including circulating follicular helper T (cTFH) cells that correlate with neutralizing antibodies. Using a novel HLA-DRB1*15:01/S751 tetramer to track spike-specific CD4+ T cells, we show that primary infection or vaccination induces robust S751-specific CXCR5− and cTFH cell memory responses. Secondary exposure induced recall of CD4+ T cells with a transitory CXCR3+ phenotype, and drove expansion of cTFH cells transiently expressing ICOS, CD38 and PD-1. In both contexts, cells exhibited a restricted T cell antigen receptor repertoire, including a highly public clonotype and considerable clonotypic overlap between CXCR5− and cTFH populations. Following a third vaccine dose, the rapid re-expansion of spike-specific CD4+ T cells contrasted with the comparatively delayed increase in antibody titers. Overall, we demonstrate that stable pools of cTFH and memory CD4+ T cells established by infection and/or vaccination are efficiently recalled upon antigen reexposure and may contribute to long-term protection against SARS-CoV-2.

Anti-Drug Antibodies in Pigtailed Macaques Receiving HIV Broadly Neutralising Antibody PGT121

Wen Shi Lee et al

Frontiers in Immunology; 10.3389/fimmu.2021.749891

Broadly neutralising antibodies (bNAbs) may play an important role in future strategies for HIV control. The development of anti-drug antibody (ADA) responses can reduce the efficacy of passively transferred bNAbs but the impact of ADA is imperfectly understood. We previously showed that therapeutic administration of the anti-HIV bNAb PGT121 (either WT or LALA version) controlled viraemia in pigtailed macaques with ongoing SHIV infection. We now report on 23 macaques that had multiple treatments with PGT121. We found that an increasing number of intravenous doses of PGT121 or human IgG1 isotype control antibodies (2-4 doses) results in anti-PGT121 ADA induction and low plasma concentrations of PGT121. ADA was associated with poor or absent suppression of SHIV viremia. Notably, ADA within macaque plasma recognised another human bNAb 10E8 but did not bind to the variable domains of PGT121, suggesting that ADA were primarily directed against the constant regions of the human antibodies. These findings have implications for the development of preclinical studies examining multiple infusions of human bNAbs.

Landscape of human antibody recognition of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain

Adam Wheatley et al

Cell Reports; 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109822

Potent neutralizing monoclonal antibodies are one of the few agents currently available to treat COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) that carry multiple mutations in the viral spike protein can exhibit neutralization resistance, potentially affecting the effectiveness of some antibody-based therapeutics. Here, the generation of a diverse panel of 91 human, neutralizing monoclonal antibodies provides an in-depth structural and phenotypic definition of receptor binding domain (RBD) antigenic sites on the viral spike. These RBD antibodies ameliorate SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamster models in a dose-dependent manner and in proportion to in vitro, neutralizing potency. Assessing the effect of mutations in the spike protein on antibody recognition and neutralization highlights both potent single antibodies and stereotypic classes of antibodies that are unaffected by currently circulating VOCs, such as B.1.351 and P.1. These neutralizing monoclonal antibodies and others that bind analogous epitopes represent potentially useful future anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics.

Current and future nanoparticle vaccines for COVID-19

Mai Vu et al

eBiomedicine; 10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103699

COVID-19 has become a major cause of global mortality and driven massive health and economic disruptions. Mass global vaccination offers the most efficient pathway towards ending the pandemic. The development and deployment of first-generation COVID-19 vaccines, encompassing mRNA or viral vectors, has proceeded at a phenomenal pace. Going forward, nanoparticle-based vaccines which deliver SARS-CoV-2 antigens will play an increasing role in extending or improving vaccination outcomes against COVID-19. At present, over 26 nanoparticle vaccine candidates have advanced into clinical testing, with ∼60 more in pre-clinical development. Here, we discuss the emerging promise of nanotechnology in vaccine design and manufacturing to combat SARS-CoV-2, and highlight opportunities and challenges presented by these novel vaccine platforms.

Influenza lineage extinction during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Marios Koutsakos et al

Nat Rev Microbiol; 10.1038/s41579-021-00642-4

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has seen a notable global reduction in influenza cases of both influenza A and B viruses. In particular, the B/Yamagata lineage has not been isolated from April 2020 to August 2021, suggesting that this influenza lineage may have become extinct, which may provide opportunities for improving availability and effectiveness of influenza vaccines.

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