Covid19 infections

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A study reveals that a strong T cell response can be triggered by mild Covid 19 infections

Reinfections in humans can be prevented

Wednesday, 19th August 2020

Mild Covid-19 infection is capable of producing memory T cells of immune system even when there are no antibodies specifically for the virus, according to the study published in the journal Cell. This response might be capable of countering reinfection. 

“In the absence of a protective vaccine, it is critical to determine if exposed or infected people, especially those with asymptomatic or very mild forms of the disease who likely act inadvertently as the major transmitters, develop robust adaptive immune responses against SARS-CoV-2”, Marcus Buggert, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, senior author of the study stated. 

The focal point is to introduce neutralising antibodies which stop the virus from entering cells. But in mild cases and some other patients, the antibody response diminishes, as per the scientists. The study couldn’t answer how SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses link to the clinical course or to antibody responses. In order to answer the question, Buggert’s team estimated antibody responses as well as SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell in over 200 people. The T cell responses depended on many clinical factors of disease severity during the initial infection phase. 

Post recovery SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells got activated, strongest in those patients who had severe infection. People with mild infection as well as the family members exposed to the coronavirus possessed progressively lower T cell responses. However, SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cell responses were detected, the scientists added, months after being exposed to the virus in family members and having mild Covid infection. In the study, 17 out of 28 exposed family members showed detectable antibody responses though 26 had T cell responses.

27 people out of 31 individuals who had mild infection had detectable antibody responses, whereas 30 of them showed T cell responses.

“Our findings suggest that the reliance on antibody responses may underestimate the extent of population-level immunity against SARS-CoV-2. The obvious next step is to determine whether robust memory T cell responses in the absence of detectable antibodies can protect against Covid-19 in the long-term”, Buggert stated. 



Source: Hindustan Times 

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