T cells could also be “unsung heroes” protecting against extreme sickness from Omicron

Two separate research show that the body’s T cells may be offering protection against extreme illness with the Omicron variant. The findings could explain why most hospitals have thus far prevented being overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. According to a Bloomberg report, the findings come from a examine carried out at Erasmus University within the Netherlands and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Triple are white blood cells that retain info on earlier disease, set off defence antibodies, and kill cells that have turn into infected with a virus. The Bloomberg report cites findings that showed that folks infected with the SARS virus in 2003 still had a T cell response to the sickness 17 years later. Unlike antibodies, T cells can goal all of a virus’s spike protein, which stays comparable even in variants like the highly-mutated Omicron.
In the Netherlands, the examine confirmed that in 60 vaccinated healthcare staff, antibody responses to Omicron have been decrease or non-existent compared to towards the Beta or Delta variants. However, T cell responses remained principally unchanged, which researchers say might steadiness out the lack of antibodies. In South Africa, researchers looked at patients who’d recovered from Covid-19 or individuals who’d been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines. In those groups, 70% to 80% of the T cell responses studied held up towards Omicron.
The findings come amid considerations that the Omicron variant can evade vaccines to some extent, leading governments to roll out booster doses in international locations the place provides permit this. But Wendy Burgens, a researcher from the University of Cape Town, says our immune system has several layers and whereas antibodies can block infection, it’s the T cells that kill infected cells, thereby preventing the virus from causing severe sickness.
“They can’t stop you from getting contaminated, however they’ll minimise the injury that comes afterwards.”

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