A new study adds to growing evidence that immune cells in the body called T cells can still recognize variants of the coronavirus, including Omicron, even if that variant seems to partially evade the antibody.
T cells generated by vaccination or previous coronavirus infection appear to “provide broad immune coverage” against the Omicron variant, base on the research, published last week in the journal Nature Medicine.
Researchers – from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the La Jolla Institute of Immunology in the US and the University Hospital of Wales in the UK – collected blood samples from 40 people 6 months after they received their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid- 19. They also collected samples from 48 people nine months after contracting mild or severe Covid-19 disease in March to April 2020, and another 48 people who were previously unvaccinated and uninfected in March 2020. end of 2020.
The experiments showed that the T cells generated from a previous vaccination or infection were “mostly intact” against Omicron – but the overall response was in people who had had a previous infection. That is lower than those who have been vaccinated.
“These results suggest that booster vaccination may provide benefits beyond the induction of neutralizing antibodies to enhance protection against severe Covid-19 relapses, ‘ said the study’s principal investigator, Marcus Buggert of the Karolinska Institutet Center for Infectious Medicine in Stockholm. a Wednesday news.
“We now want to understand why the response is different in each individual and whether the third dose of the vaccine can enhance the T-cell response to Omicron even more.”
Why is all of this important: During a pandemic, immunity is usually measured by the presence of antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to help fight infection. But the immune system is more than just antibodies. They involve many different players, including T cells, that participate in the body’s attempt to fight off infection with coronavirus or any disease-causing agent.
You can read the full study here.