High levels of so-called “T cells” that respond to the coronavirus could be sufficient to offer protection against infection, a UK study said, adding to the evidence of the crucial role they play in immunity to COVID-19.
T cells, a type of white blood cell that makes up part of a healthy immune system, are thought to be essential to protect against infection from the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus, and could provide longer-term immunity than antibodies.
The study on nearly 3,000 people, conducted by Oxford Immunotec and Public Health England (PHE), found that no participants with a high T cell response developed symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection when researchers followed up with them.
That compares to 20 confirmed infections among participants who saw low T cell responses.
“This suggests individuals with higher numbers of T-cells recognising SARS-CoV-2 may have some level of protection from COVID-19, although more research is required to confirm this,” said David Wyllie, Consultant Microbiologist at Public Health England.
The study was a pre-print, and has not been published in a journal or peer-reviewed.
(Edit by EP News Bureau)