SINTO THE In early 2020, medical researchers were in hot pursuit of covid-19. One of their most important goals is to understand their immune response SARS–COV-2, the virus caused it. Finding out what a good response looks like and how long it lasts is crucial. The responses will reveal whether those who have recovered will be protected from a second infection, and will also show how difficult it will be to develop the vaccine.
There are many things to worry about. Over the past year, numerous reports have indicated a rapid decline in covid-specific antibodies after the initial outbreak due to infection. The antibodies that are part of the immune system attack the virus directly. They are expected to participate in any long-term protection against reinfection. If they go away quickly, it looks like bad news. Worrier also highlighted the fact that immunity to coronaviruses that cause the symptoms described as a “cold”; is short-lived, and there have been several proven cases of reinfection. SARS–COV-2.
However, the antibodies only tell part of the story. Another important factor is T-cell (picture above). Instead of attacking the virus directly, T-The cells attack the infected cells, to prevent the virus from reproducing. The balance of the importance of antibodies and TThe branches of the immune system change according to disease. And, associated with this particular infection, though almost all patients suffer SARS–COV-2 is supposed to be made Tthe boxes in the responses, their understanding of their meaning was elusive.
This is largely due to TCells are more difficult to measure than antibodies, and therefore less studied. Shamez Ladhani, the consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England, a government health protection agency who has conducted a new long-term investigation of these cells, said it took almost three weeks to counted them in the 100 patients that his study reviewed. . However, this effort is well worth it, as it sheds light on how this immune form endures long-term ways. SARS–COV-2 might be.
To a T?
Dr. Ladhani’s project is part of a broader effort focused on healthcare workers that the UK Department of Public Health started in March. More than 2,000 people have donated blood samples every month since then. The 100 that he and his colleagues have studied are a subset of these. In an article that had just been published in pre-printed form, but not yet evaluated by colleagues, they said that six months after infection, all of these patients, even those with mild or no symptoms. have any symptoms, still have detectable levels T– cells against viruses. Although their antibodies may have disappeared, T-The cells are still on the scene.
These findings bode well for that idea TEleanor Riley, professor of immunology at the University of Edinburgh, said the -cells provide long-term protection against reinfection. And Paul Moss, a hematologist at Birmingham University, says his experience with other viruses keeps him looking forward. TThe cell responses that Dr. Ladhani observed will last for many more months than the six months it has persisted so far. In SARS–COV-1, the name is currently given to the virus that caused SARS on outbreak, in 2002-03, this form of cellular immunity was found to have existed in some people for more than a decade. The enduring nature of such T-cell responses are consistent with the observation that so far the responses appear to be very rare.
Dr Moss said that the implication of the new study is that those seeking vaccines against covid-19 should prioritize production. T-cars. There’s a lot of good news here. Two of the top candidates – one from a partnership between Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company and BioNTech, a German biotechnology company, and the other from a second joint effort, between AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish drug company and the Jenner Institute of Oxford University – do exactly this, while also stimulating antibody production. Speaking in July, when the first results from the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine were announced, Adrian Hill, the boss of the Jenner Institute, was keen to emphasize “excellence” T-cell responses their vaccines generate. “That’s what this vaccine is for,” he explained. “That’s what it’s designed for.”
The meaning of T-cells are obvious to Pfizer and BioNTech. In July, they turned the focus of their efforts in response to data showing that an experimental vaccine they consider secondary so far is causing much. Tcell responses. The coming weeks are likely to show results as to whether one or more of these fake vaccines actually protect against covid-19. What the two top candidates do TCell responses are the basis for optimism that vaccinations are on the right track.
For the antibodies to disappear, there may be grounds for optimism here. The fact that the levels of these proteins drop rapidly after infection, when they are no longer needed, shouldn’t be too surprising. It also may not be important. The immune system can also be prepared to bulk them back, if and when it encounters SARS–COV-2. It’s also important to remember that, even if the researchers can’t detect the antibodies, that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of place.
As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, the scientific battle against covid-19 feels more urgent than ever. However, while it is true that science has yet to jam pandemic emergency exits, there are now at least a few shafts of light that have flickered around the doorway. ■
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This article appeared in the Science & Technology section of the printed edition titled “Teed up”