T-cell immunity against the coronavirus could last for at least six months after infection, a study from the U.K. Coronavirus Immunology Consortium suggests.
The study, which is awaiting peer review, evaluated 100 health-care workers in the U.K. who had mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in March and April and found that the defensive blood cells, which differ from antibodies, were present in all of them. The patients who experienced symptoms had T-cell levels that were at least 50 percent higher than the asymptomatic cases. That could mean either that people who had a more severe initial infection have more protection, or that those with milder or asymptomatic cases are able to control the virus with lower T-cell levels, The Guardian notes.
The results are promising, especially given that other recent studies have suggested antibodies are waning in the general population, but not definitive. Fiona Watt, the executive chair of the U.K.'s Medical Research Council, was optimistic, especially in terms of what it could mean for vaccine development. "If natural reinfection with the virus can elicit a robust T-cell response, then this may mean that a vaccine could do the same," she said. Read more at Bloomberg and The Guardian.
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