Study: Common cold-generated T cells protect against COVID-19 | Immunity | Antibodies | Coronavirus

[Epoch Times, January 11, 2022](Epoch Times reporter Li Yan comprehensive report) A study published Monday (January 10) at Imperial College London found that high levels of the human body acquired after infection with the common cold coronavirus T cells can provide protection against COVID-19 (the disease caused by the CCP virus), which is expected to provide a reference for the development of second-generation vaccines.

The immune effects acquired after infection with COVID-19 are complex. While there is evidence that antibody levels diminish six months after vaccination, T cells are also thought to play an important role in providing protection.

The study, which began in September 2020, looked at the levels of cross-reactive T cells previously developed by the common cold in 52 household contacts of cases who had recently contracted COVID-19, to see if they would contract the disease.

The study found that the 26 people who did not develop the infection had significantly higher levels of T cells than those who were infected.

T cells (T cells) are lymphocytes that play an important role in the immune response. T is the abbreviation for thymus, which is produced in the bone marrow. After “recruit training” in the thymus, they differentiate into different subtypes of effector T cells after maturity, and migrate to the surrounding lymphoid tissue to start work.

Study author Dr Rhia Kundu said: “We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells produced by the body during infection with other human coronaviruses, such as the common cold, protect people from COVID-19 infection. ”

The authors of the study, published in Nature Communications, say the internal proteins of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) targeted by T cells could provide vaccine manufacturers with an alternative target.

Current COVID-19 vaccines target the spike protein, which mutates frequently, resulting in variants such as Omicron that evade existing vaccines.

“In contrast, we found much less variation in the internal proteins targeted by protective T cells,” said study co-author Professor Ajit Lalvani.

This internal protein is “highly protective” among various SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron.

“Therefore, new vaccines that include these protective internal proteins will elicit broad protective T-cell responses that should protect people from current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants,” the professor further explained.

The Imperial College study did not say how long the T cells’ protective effect would last.

Editor in charge: Lin Yan#◇

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