The heterogeneity of immune response to COVID-19 has been reported to correlate with disease severity and prognosis. While so, how the immune response progress along the period of viral RNA-shedding (VRS), which determines the infectiousness of disease, is yet to be elucidated. We aim to exhaustively evaluate the peripheral immune cells to expose the interplay of the immune system in uncomplicated COVID-19 cases with different VRS periods and dynamic changes of the immune cell profile in the prolonged cases. We prospectively recruited four uncomplicated COVID-19 patients and four healthy controls (HCs) and evaluated the immune cell profile throughout the disease course. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were collected and submitted to a multi-panel flowcytometric assay. CD19+-B cells were upregulated, while CD4, CD8, and NK cells were downregulated in prolonged VRS patients. Additionally, the pro-inflammatory-Th1 population showed downregulation, followed by improvement along the disease course, while the immunoregulatory cells showed upregulation with subsequent decline. COVID-19 patients with longer VRS expressed an immune profile comparable to those with severe disease, although they remained clinically stable. Further studies of immune signature in a larger cohort are warranted.
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