The Common Cold Might Have Prepared Some People’s Immune Systems for COVID-19

A cold that you might have gotten many years ago might be why your body has a headstart fighting against the novel coronavirus.

The Study

A recent study from Tuesday says that some people who have never encountered the new coronavirus can still present T cells that react to it.

Researchers believe that it is because cells preciously learned how to detect and fight coronaviruses that provoke common colds.

T cells are a type of white blood cell, a vital part of the human body’s defense mechanism against viruses.

T cells identify and destroy infected cells while also notifying B cells how to create new antibodies to carry on the fight against viruses.

When the body gets infected, the immune system produces both antibodies and white blood cells.

Antibody levels can decrease after the body gets infected, but memory T cells can survive for years, making the body stronger against the same virus if it ever strikes again.

According to recent research, T cells that remember how to fight other coronaviruses can grant people an immunological head start against the new threat.

Alessandro Sette, a coauthor of the novel study, stated in a press release:

“This could help explain why some people show milder symptoms of the disease while others get severely sick.”

Sette warned that it’s too early to say whether preexisting immunological memory affects the evolution of a COVID-19 patient.

Unexpected Recognition

Sette’s team discovered that some unexposed individuals had memory T cells capable of recognizing both the novel coronavirus and the four variations of common cold coronaviruses.

Sette’s findings state that ten people who had never been exposed to the novel coronavirus presented T cells able to identify and respond to the threat.

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