6 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 causes immune perturbations which may persist long-term, and patients frequently report ongoing symptoms for months after recovery. We assessed immune activation at 3-12 months post hospital admission in 187 samples from 63 patients with mild, moderate or severe disease and investigated whether it associates with long COVID. At 3 months, patients with severe disease displayed persistent activation of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells, based on expression of HLA-DR, CD38, Ki67 and granzyme B, and elevated plasma levels of IL-4, IL-7, IL-17 and TNF-α compared to mild and/or moderate patients. Plasma from severe patients at 3 months caused T-cells from healthy donors to upregulate IL-15Rα, suggesting that plasma factors in severe patients may increase T-cell responsiveness to IL-15-driven bystander activation. Patients with severe disease reported a higher number of long COVID symptoms which did not however, correlate with cellular immune activation/pro-inflammatory cytokines after adjusting for age, sex and disease severity. Our data suggests that long COVID and persistent immune activation may correlate independently with severe disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere85009
Early online date13 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
are grateful to all patients and their families for participating in this study 堀 This work was supported by

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, eLife Sciences Publications Ltd. All rights reserved.


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