In a breakthrough research, scientists have found that patients suffering from severe respiratory symptoms because of coronavirus infection can generate an immune response in the form of virus-attacking T cells.
The new study is likely to shed light on the development a new vaccine against Covid-19, reports said. The Journal of American Association for The Advancement of Science and journal Science Immunology published the study.
The researchers in the study said that people infected with the coronavirus will harbour T cells that target the virus. This will help in the recovery, they added. The researchers also noted that two out of ten healthy people without prior exposure to Covid 19 also harbored reactive T cells.
They pointed out that the T cells may be cross reacting to coronavirus due to past infection with related coronaviruses that cause common cold symptoms. They noted that their research would help in understanding if patients with more severe symptoms can generate protective virus-specific T cells. It may also offer clues with respect to the cells responsible for excessive immune responses that have led to the deaths of many patients.
The researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, US, extracted blood cells from ten patients at weekly intervals. These cells were exposed to “megapools” of known SARS-CoV-2 protein components in a technique meant to capture a large fraction of total viral-reactive T cells. Eight of the ten patients had T cells. However, while screening the patients, they found that SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were present relatively early during the course of infection and it increased in these patients over time.