Microbiome Immunity

Project Title: The role of the anti-commensal antibody repertoire in the differential outcomes of symptomatic versus asymptomatic infection in SARS-CoV-2

NIAID Principal Investigator: Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D.
Chief, Metaorganism Immunity Section (LISB)

Does the anti-commensal antibody repertoire dictate differential outcomes in COVID-19 patients?

Antibody responses mounted against gut microbiota give rise to B-cell lineages that can protect against pathogenic infections. Conversely, these clones may outcompete protective ones following vaccination, impairing the development of protective immunoglobulin responses. These findings demonstrate the important influence that microbiota, and B-cell responses to it, have on antibodies mounted against infectious diseases or vaccines. The NIAID Microbiome Program and the Metaorganism Immunity Section of the Laboratory of Immune System Biology (LISB) propose that immune responses to the gut microbiota may predict which patients get very sick with COVID-19 while others remain asymptomatic. They will employ a novel technique developed in their laboratory called IgG-Seq to identify antibody responses against specific gut bacteria that associate with asymptomatic versus symptomatic infection. This could be potentially used to predict disease course and/or contribute to serological tests of herd immunity. Additionally, this approach may uncover microbiota constituents that play a role in promoting protective antibody responses.

Participating Groups


Sample Requirements

10 µL of serum or plasma is required. Ideally, samples would be taken 1) upon hospital admission, 2) during hospitalization, 3) at discharge, and 4) after discharge. We encourage clinicians to donate serum of patients with a range in severities of symptoms (spanning asymptomatic to severe) at or around the time of infection.

Contact Information

If you are involved in the care of COVID-19 patients and are interested in collaborating on this project, please contact Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D.

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