Immunity and vaccines WILL protect people from Brazilian and South African Covid variants because white blood cells recognize “virtually all” versions of the virus, research claims.
- Researchers in the US and Singapore tested immunity against new virus variants
- They said the immune system’s T cells could recognize “almost all” Covid
- T cells are a critical part of the immunity that develops after a vaccine or natural infection
- Research adds to the evidence that new variants won’t ruin hopes for vaccination
Immune cells from vaccines or previous Covid infection should protect people from the Brazilian and South African variants of coronavirus, a small study claims.
Researchers tested whether immunity to the original Wuhan version of the virus would work on newer strains and saw that it did in lab tests.
Although virus-fighting antibodies didn’t work that well, they found that white blood cells could still recognize the virus and attack it.
The study focused on cells called T cells, which circulate in the blood and trigger an immune response when they find the virus they were trained for.
The scientists, from the US and Singapore, said that ‘virtually all’ T cells ‘should recognize these newly described variants’.
Experts were concerned that the Brazilian and South African variants of the virus, both now found in the UK, US and worldwide, could escape the immune system and make vaccines less effective.
They are both mutated in such a way that they look different to the body and that antibodies are less able to recognize or destroy them.
This study adds to the growing evidence that injections will still work and that people are still protected. At least 55 percent of people in the UK now have some level of immunity to the virus, either from a vaccine or from surviving Covid.
This study adds to the growing evidence that immunity to previous infection with Covid or to a vaccine will still protect people from getting sick from new variants (photo: a woman is vaccinated in Cayenne, French Guiana, South America)
The study was conducted by researchers from the US National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a firm called Immunoscape in Singapore.
It focused on T cells, which are part of the immune system that control the immune system and guard against invading viruses or bacteria.
T cells are always in the blood looking for the specific bug they have been trained to detect and attack – in this case, the coronavirus that causes Covid.
MORE THAN HALF BRITISH HAVE COVID ANTIBODIES
Nearly 55 percent of people in England now have antibodies to Covid, suggesting that at least half of the population now has some immunity to the disease.
A large test study from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed that 54.7 percent of people in England had the virus-fighting proteins in the week ending March 14, up from 50.8 percent the week before.
The figure is likely to be even higher now because millions more have been vaccinated since the blood tests were taken two weeks ago, and it takes about two weeks for immunity to kick in.
It highlights the success of the introduction of the mammoth vaccine in the country, with 30.5 million Britons getting their first dose and 3.7 million fully vaccinated.
The ONS report – based on random blood tests of about 30,000 adults – revealed that the number of people with detectable antibody levels in the rest of Britain was 50.5 percent in Wales, 49.3 percent in Northern Ireland and 42 on March 14. , 6 percent in Scotland.
As with needle sticking, antibodies are made in response to a previous infection. Their presence in blood generally means that a person has at least some protection against the disease and will not get sick. But they are not the only part of the immune system.
When the T cells find the virus, they are able to destroy other cells infected with it and also signal the immune system to send out more toxins such as antibodies to help it defeat or defeat the infection. stop.
Many studies of Covid vaccines to date have focused on antibodies because they are the front line of the immune system, and scientists have found that they are less effective when they compete with virus variants for which they are not specifically prepared.
This is because they are super specific and only recognize certain parts of a virus. If they change too much, the antibodies have a hard time attaching to them.
However, T cells are generally less specific and can recognize and capture different parts of a virus, allowing them to better detect different strains.
In this study, blood samples from 30 people who had recovered from Covid were mixed with different Covid strains and scientists saw immune responses in all of these strains.
While the responses may not be strong enough to stop the coronavirus completely because the antibody responses were weaker, they would likely prevent serious illness or death.
The researchers wrote, ‘These data highlight the potentially significant role of a … T cell response in limiting viral escape, and partially mediate protection against disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 variants.
It is important that vaccines used for widespread campaigns, in addition to strong multivalent T cell responses [neutralising antibody] and other humoral responses to optimize efficacy against current SARS-CoV-2 and emerging strains.
“It will be important to continue to monitor the breadth, magnitude, and durability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses in recovered and vaccinated individuals as part of any assessment to determine whether booster vaccinations are required.”
They said a weakness of the study was that it was so small, only 30 people were involved, and they were all in North America, not worldwide.
The study has been published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases