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Singapore: COVID-19 Patients Have T-Cell Immunity

While the global media and political leaders and their health officials focus exclusively on the issue of antibodies, there is a growing body of scientific evidence which demonstrates how other layers of adaptive immunity are being used to fight off  COVID infections.

Of course, such findings are not welcome by everyone, particular those who maintain that the only road to herd immunity in the wider population is through the aggressive administration of a coronavirus vaccine.

MIMS reports…


Patients who recovered from COVID-19 harbour SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells as shown in a Singapore study. This, the scientists suggest, bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity against the coronavirus.

T cells, along with antibodies, target and kill infected cells, but their importance in fighting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains unclear.

Interestingly, the Singapore study found that even people who had SARS infection 17 years ago, and over 50 percent of healthy individuals who had not been infected with SARS or SARS-CoV-2, have these cellular defences. The researchers said these were likely because of  cross-reactive immunity obtained from previous exposure to common cold viruses or some unknown animal coronaviruses. [Nature 2020;doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2550-z]

RELATED: UK Expert: ‘Taboo’ Herd Immunity May Be Only Long-term Solution to COVID

“This suggests that  infection and exposure to coronaviruses induce long-lasting memory T cells … and a level of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity may have been present in the general population,” said corresponding author Professor Antonio Bertoletti from the Duke-NUS Emerging Infectious Diseases programme. However, this does not mean that people who have recovered from COVID-19 are protected from re-infection.

First-of-a-kind rapid COVID-19 test

Singapore scientists have developed a first-of-a-kind rapid SARS-CoV-2 surrogate virus neutralisation test (sVNT) that could aid COVID-19 investigations in the heat of the pandemic.

sVNT could help determine infection rate, herd immunity, predicted humoral protection, and vaccine efficacy during clinical trials…

Continue this story at MIMS

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