T cells induced by COVID-19 infection respond to new viral variants: US study

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T cells induced by COVID-19 infection respond to new viral variants: US study


CHICAGO (Reuters) – According to a U.S. lab study released Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) can be seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / CDC / Handout via REUTERS./File Photo

Several recent studies have shown that certain variants of the new coronavirus can interfere with immune protection against antibodies and vaccines.

But the antibodies – which prevent the coronavirus from attaching to human cells – may not tell the whole story, according to the study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). T cells appear to play an important additional protective role.

“Our data, as well as results from other groups, show that the T cell response to COVID-19 in individuals infected with the initial viral variants appears to fully recognize the major new variants identified in UK, South Africa and in Brazil ”. said Andrew Redd of NIAID and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study.

Researchers analyzed the blood of 30 people who had recovered from COVID-19 before the new, more contagious variants emerged.

From these samples, they identified a specific form of T cell active against the virus and set out to see how these T cells performed against the worrisome variants from South Africa, the UK and Brazil.

They found that T cell responses remained largely intact and could recognize virtually any mutations in the variants studied.

The findings add to an earlier study that also suggested that T cell protection appears to remain intact against variants.

NIAID researchers said larger studies are needed to confirm the results. Continued monitoring for variants that escape both antibody and T cell protection is needed, Redd said.

The document has been accepted for publication in the Open Forum Infectious Diseases, but has not yet been peer reviewed.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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