Single-cell sequencing of peripheral blood mononuclear cells reveals distinct immune response landscapes of COVID-19 and influenza patients

COVID-19 is a severe infectious disease that is a current global health threat. However, little is known about its hallmarks compared to other infectious diseases. Here, researchers from BGI-Shenzhen report the single-cell transcriptional landscape of longitudinally collected peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in both COVID-19 and influenza A virus (IAV)-infected patients. The researchers observed increase of plasma cells in both COVID-19 and IAV patients, and XAF1-, TNF- and FAS-induced T cell apoptosis in COVID-19 patients. Further analyses revealed distinct signaling pathways activated in COVID-19 (STAT1 and IRF3) vs. IAV (STAT3 and NFκB) patients and substantial differences in the expression of key factors. These factors include relatively increase of IL6R and IL6ST expression in COVID-19 patients, but similarly increased IL-6 concentrations compared to IAV patients, supporting the clinical observations of increased pro-inflammatory cytokines in COVID-19 patients. Thus, the researchers provide the landscape of PBMCs and unveil distinct immune response pathways in COVID-19 and IAV patients.

Linnan Zhu L et al. (2020) Single-cell sequencing of peripheral blood mononuclear cells reveals distinct immune response landscapes of COVID-19 and influenza patients. Immunity [online ahead of print]. [abstract]

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