Study shows common cold viruses can teach immune system to recognize COVID-19

Thursday, August 6, 2020 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A new study has found that infection with common cold viruses can teach the human immune system to recognize the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19, Live Science reports.

Published on August 4 in the journal Science, the study shows that immune cells (known as T cells) which recognize common cold coronaviruses also recognize certain sites on SARS-CoV-2, including parts of the “spike” protein it uses to bind to and invade human cells, Live Science said.

In its analysis of blood samples taken from a variety of people, this study was conducted between 2015 and 2018, before COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan. “These blood samples contained T cells that reacted to more than 100 specific sites on SARS-CoV-2. The researchers showed that these T cells also reacted to similar sites on four different coronaviruses that cause common cold infections,” Live Science’s Rachel Rettner said in her report.

The study’s authors believe that having an existing immune system “memory” may explain why some people have milder bouts of COVID-19 than others. Nevertheless, Live Science reported, the authors said this hypothesis is “highly speculative” and requires more research.

In any event, the study’s co-lead author study Alessandro Sette of La Jolla Institute for Immunology said in a statement: “Having a strong T-cell response, or a better T-cell response, may give you the opportunity to mount a much quicker and stronger response,” Sette added.

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