A study indicates that people who built up high levels of immune cells from coronaviruses that precipitate the common cold give some immunity against Covid-19.
A study, Cross-reactive memory T cells associate with protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID-19 contacts published in Nature Communications, outlined in previous studies have shown that T cells created from other coronaviruses can recognize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In the new study, researchers at Imperial College London found that the presence of these T cells at the time of COVID-19 exposure could reduce the chance of getting infected.
The findings could provide a blueprint for a second-generation, universal vaccine to prevent infection from COVID-19 variants, including Omicron and ones that crop up later.
According to Rhia Kundu, the lead author of the study, being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 viruses doesn't always result in inflection. People with higher levels of T cells from the common cold were less likely to become infected with Covid-19.
In the study, blood samples from 52 people who lived with someone with diagnosed Covid-19. Among the 26 people who didn't contract Covid-19, there were significantly higher levels of pre-existing T cells from common cold coronaviruses, as compared with the 26 people, who did become infected.
Consequently, T cell were found to be cross-reactive, being able to recognize the proteins of SARS-CoV-2.
Current vaccines target the spike proteins, which are more likely to mutate than internal proteins as the virus mutates. Thus cross-reactive T cells maybe a more appropriate strategy to develop immunity against SARS-CoV-2.
This study provides a major insight into the public policy of lockdowns. Lockdowns isolated citizens from diseases like the common cold, where many originate from corona viruses. Had the public been able to go about their daily activities and come into contact with these other viruses, community immunity against SARS-CoV-2 may have been much more robust.
More studies are needed.
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