In particular, a so-called cross reaction could affect the severity of a Covid 19 disease, as virology professor Alexandra Trkola says.

the essentials in brief

  • Cross-reactions shorten the course of the disease and alleviate its severity.
  • This is exactly what you can achieve with vaccinations, “only much, much more efficiently”.
  • This is what the virology professor Alexandra Trkola from the University of Zurich says.

According to a study, previous infections with harmless cold coronaviruses also give a certain protection against Sars-CoV-2. In particular, a so-called cross reaction could affect the severity of a Covid 19 disease.

«Immune reactions specifically directed against Sars-CoV-2, which originate from memory cells, are of course far more effective than cross-reactive ones. But although the protection is not complete, cross-reactions shorten the course of the disease and alleviate its severity, “said virology professor Alexandra Trkola from the University of Zurich, according to a statement from the university on Monday. This is exactly what you can achieve with vaccinations, “only much, much more efficiently”.

Trkola and her team analyzed the amount of different antibodies against four human coronaviruses in the blood of 825 donors from the time before the occurrence of Sars-CoV-2 as well as 389 samples from donors who had been infected with the novel coronavirus.

Protection to a certain extent

Accordingly, previous immunity to cold coronaviruses can protect against infection with Sars-CoV-2 to a certain extent, promote the development of Sars-CoV-2-specific immunity and thus reduce the risk of severe hospitalization. The effect of this cross-reaction could be a “plausible explanation for the high proportion of asymptomatic and mild Sars-CoV-2 infections”, as the research team reports in the specialist magazine “Nature Communications”.

Coronavirus immunity is often short-lived – a limitation that the new vaccines hope to overcome, according to the researchers. If this succeeds and it turns out that immunity to Sars-CoV-2 also strengthens the defense against other human coronaviruses, “we would come a big step closer to comprehensive protection against coronaviruses, including newly emerging variants,” said Trkola.

More on the subject:

University of Zurich coronavirus study


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