People who have had mild coronaviruses like the common cold are said to have better protection against Sars-Cov-2 through a cross-reaction. They would develop less serious forms of Covid-19, a study from the University of Zurich indicates on Monday.

Even if they do not offer complete protection, cross reactions shorten the disease cycle and reduce its severity, said Alexandra Trkola, professor of virology at the University of Zurich quoted Monday in a statement from the institution.

“It’s the same effect that we get with vaccines, but in a much more efficient way,” adds the specialist.

Prior immunity

Alexandra Trkola and her team analyzed the amount of antibodies against four coronaviruses in the blood of 825 people before the appearance of Sars-CoV-2. She scrutinized 389 samples that had been infected with the new coronavirus.

The results showed that a previous immunity against the common cold can to a certain extent protect against contamination with Sars-Cov-2, promote specific immunity to this virus and thus reduce the risk of hospitalization. This would explain the high number of asymptomatic and mild infections linked to Covid-19.

A medical breakthrough

Immunity to coronaviruses often does not last long, a pitfall that vaccines are currently trying to overcome, researchers say.

If immunity to Sars-Cov-2 is shown to enhance protection against other human coronaviruses, it will be a great medical breakthrough, according to Alexandra Trkola.

The study was published in the trade journal “Nature Communications”.

ats / boi

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