(Bloomberg) – An important type of defensive blood cell that persists for at least six months in people after Covid-19, even in asymptomatic people, in a new study may ease concerns about impaired immunity and its effect on vaccines.
Studies of over 100 people show that they all have T-cell responses against a variety of coronavirus proteins, including the mutant protein used as a marker in many vaccine studies, after half a year. People experiencing symptoms have at least 50% higher levels than people who don’t.
As a handful of vaccines near the finish line, it is not clear how long protection will last. A small number of patients have fallen ill with Covid-19 twice.
“This is promising news,” said Fiona Watt, executive chairman of the Medical Research Council of the UK. “If a natural infection with a virus can induce a strong T-cell response, then that means vaccines can do so too.”;
An earlier study, published last month by Imperial College London, has raised concerns that immune defenses may weaken, as it shows the proportion of British people with antibodies declines. time.
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T cells are not antibodies. They are white blood cells that can memorize past illnesses, destroy infected cells and activate antibodies to protect the moderation when needed. For example, people infected with another coronavirus that caused the 2003 outbreak of SARS, still have a T-cell response to the disease 17 years later.
The study of a group of immunologists from 17 universities known as the UK’s Coronavirus Immunology Association has yet to be reviewed. This may be the first case where a powerful memory cell against viruses persists in the long term, the authors say.
None of the patients with blood or serum samples studied were hospitalized with Covid-19.
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