Some people are already antibodies that recognize Kovid-19, thanks to the common cold

A health care worker in Washington DC holding a blood sample collected to test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

A health care worker in Washington DC collected a blood sample to test antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.
Photo: Win McName (Getty Images)

A new study suggests that a small portion of the population carries antibodies that respond to coronoviruses after covid-19 is infected.-antibodies Raised from previous encounters with the common cold caused by the associated virus.

Research is the latest to indicate that some people may have a degree of preexisting immunity to coronovirus. But although it is possible that these findings may help explain some of the epidemic trends, such as children prone to severe illness, it is still unclear how protective this borrowed immunity may actually be. is.

New study, Published In Science on Friday, blood samples were tested from adults and children in the UK before the known onset of the pandemic in December 2019, as well as from those early in the pandemic who reported SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus Tested negative for Kovid-19. These samples were compared to those who confirmed Kovid-19.

As expected, in most confirmed cases the virus had a diverse group of antibodies to respond to the spike proteins, which were used to infect cells by the virus. These three antibodies came from types that combat viral infections (IgG, IgM, IgA). But in some uninfected patients who were recently confirmed to have a common cold coronovirus infection, researchers also found antibodies that appeared to react to SARS-CoV-2. The researchers wrote, “Our results from several independent assay demonstrated the presence of antibodies recognizing SARS-CoV-2 in non-registered individuals.”

Antibodies found in nonirrigated people were clearly different from those in Kovid-19 patients. They were almost all IgGs, the most common antibody made by the immune system. They were found only in a small percentage of adults. In samples from 302 adults, only 16 (5.26%) carried these antibodies. However, this was not as true for children: Researchers found these antibodies in 21 of the 48 samples (44%) collected in children between 1 and 16 years of age.

The authors speculate that the high levels of cross-reactive antibodies seen in children may help explain why they feel less likely to contract Kovid-19 than the general population, or they are usually very Why experience less severe illness. Children become ill with minor colds all the time, and they have found evidence that recent infections by other human coronaviruses may explain high levels of antibodies in children.

The study seems to be the first to find these cross-reactive antibodies in people. There is still other research got to know Some people also carry T cells – another important part of the immune system – borrowed from earlier common cold infections that may respond to SARS-CoV-2. Together, these studies indicate that some people may actually have a permanent immune response to Kovid-19. But there is reason to be cautious in interpreting the results.

“We still don’t know anything about safety, despite many groups showing cross-reactivity. Epidemiology suggests that the infection is unlikely to stop or spread – it can cause a change in symptoms,” The lead author is Kevin Ng, a PhD student and virus researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London.

There are those who have argued that T cell studies show that many people in the world are already epidemic safe, often to justify their stance against aggressive actions to prevent the spread of viral disease. However, the scientists behind the research have clearly Spoken Regarding these claims. He mentions that there is still a lot of uncertainty about how these cross-reactive T cells can affect a person’s response to infection, and it is unlikely that having these cells would cause a person to go to Kovid – 19 will go a long way in preventing others from catching or spreading. In other words, these are not T cells getting Immune us any so-called fast.

Another reason to be cautious: this is also Possible Having cross-reactive antibodies may actually increase the risk of more severe disease in some cases than it did with the original SARS virus.

In any case, more research will have to be done to ensure anything. To help explain why some groups of people may somehow be less vulnerable to Kovid-19, researchers speculate that someday this borrowed immunity is understood and improved vaccines against existing and future coronaviruses Can take place.

“We are now working to find out why some people make cross-reactive antibodies and some don’t,” Ng said. “If we can detect this, then we can use that information in vaccines to stimulate an immune response that would theoretically target all coronaviruses.”


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