Books – Syed Metwally
While the latest research indicates that antibodies against the emerging corona virus can last only three months, new hope has emerged on the path to fighting the pandemic.
Hope is a surprise, according to which some people have hidden immunity to protect them from HIV infection, according to a report published by the British Broadcasting Corporation “BBC”.
Initially, scientists discovered that patients who recovered from Covid-19 infection did not have any antibodies against the virus, but then it appeared that this might be the case for a large number of people, then the result was that many of those who They develop antibodies after recovery, losing them again after only a few months.
Although antibodies have proven important to fight the epidemic, they may not have a leading role in immunity, if we are to have long-term protection.
While the world is preoccupied with antibodies, researchers have begun to realize that there may be another form of immunity, in some cases, hidden inside the body for years after infection, as a mysterious type of white blood cell acquires great importance, although it is It did not appear earlier, it has proven to be decisive in our battle against Corona, this moment may be represented in the T cell.
When researchers tested blood samples taken years before the epidemic appeared, they found that the design of T cells would be useful in detecting proteins on the surface of the Corona virus.
T cells are a type of immune cell, the main goal of which is to identify and kill invasive pathogens or infected cells, using proteins on their surface, which can bind to proteins on the surface of these foreign bodies, each of which can identify everything that attacks the body.
T cells can be present in the blood for years after infection, also contribute to the “long-term memory” of the immune system, and allow it to form a faster and more effective response when exposed to an ancient disease.
Corona and T cells
Many studies have shown that people with corona usually have cells that can target the virus, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not, and scientists have also recently discovered that some people do not have antibodies against the epidemic, but they have T cells that can detect the virus.
More surprising is that when researchers tested blood samples taken years before the outbreak of the pandemic, they found cells specifically designed to detect proteins on the surface of the Corona virus, this indicates that some people already have a degree of resistance against the virus before it infects humans, and that seems to be widespread. Significantly 40-60% among non-epidemic individuals who have these cells, it appears that T cells may be a secret source of immunity to corona.
How does T cell immunity appear?
Most people may not know T cells, but to see how important they are to immunity, we can look at late-stage aids, persistent fever, sores, fatigue, weight loss, rare cancers, usually harmless microbes, such as fungi – which are usually found on the skin – which It begins to control the body, hence the importance of these cells in resisting such diseases.
“It erases a type of T cell genocide,” says Adrian Heidi, professor of immunology at Kings College in London: “It erases a large portion of them.” “This really confirms how incredibly important these cells are – and that only antibodies will not protect you.”
During a normal immune response – in a virus like the flu – the first line of defense is the immune system, which includes white blood cells and chemical signals, which start producing antibodies, within a few weeks.
“In parallel, after about four or five days after infection, the T cells perform an activation process, to identify the cells infected with the virus, and then these cells are killed either directly by the T cells themselves, or by other parts of the immune system,” Hayday adds. Before the virus had a chance to clone itself inside it.
Good news and bad news
“Given the corona patients, the people who are infected and who do not need hospital, it is quite clear that they have responses to the T cells that killed the virus,” heiday says. “These results are promising for vaccine seekers, because they indicate that the body is developing antibodies and cells that can identify the virus.” .
Indeed, one of the vaccines – developed by the University of Oxford – has already been shown to produce these cells, as well as antibodies. It is too early to tell how the response is protected, but a member of the research group told BBC News that the results were very promising.
However, for many patients admitted to hospital with serious symptoms, the T cell response was not strong.
“Large numbers of T cells are affected by the virus, and they also disappear from the blood,” Haiday adds.
One theory confirmed that these T cells are being redirected to places where they are most in need in the body, such as the lungs, but Haidai’s team suspects that many of them have disappeared due to death.
Heiday adds that all evidence indicates that T cells can protect us from disease for several years, but when we fall ill, it is clear that they cannot defend the body on their own, and elderly people with severe acute coronary complications may be attributed to the dwindling numbers of these cells.
What does this mean for long-term immunity?
According to Heiday, the researchers conducted studies on patients who recovered from acute respiratory syndrome disease that appeared in 2002, and discovered evidence that T cells respond to the virus after years of infection, and this confirms that these cells formed in these patients protect the body after years of recovery .
These results led scientists to examine old blood samples taken from people between 2015 and 2018, and they discovered that T cells in these samples respond to the emerging corona virus, and the researchers concluded that immune systems may have been designed to identify a covid and trigger the appropriate response to it after infection with viruses Corona causing colds that have similar proteins on their surface.
This reveals a worrying possibility, that the reason some people have had a more severe infection is that they did not get these lumps of T cells that could actually identify the virus.
Will that lead us to a vaccine?
If a previous exposure to a cold virus really reduces the severity of the Coronavirus, this bodes well for the development of the vaccine, because it is evidence that suspended T cells can provide significant protection, even after years of production.
But even if this is not what happens, sharing T cells can be beneficial, and the more we understand what happens, the better.
Haidai explains that the way vaccines are produced generally depends on the type of immune response that scientists hope to extract, some of which may lead to the production of antibodies – freely floating proteins that can bind to invasive pathogens, or either neutralize or tag them for another part of the immune system to deal with, Others may aim to engage T cells, or they may provoke a response from other parts of the immune system.
“There is already an enormous group of vaccines, and he was particularly encouraged by the fact that the virus is highly visible to the immune system, even in those who are severely affected, so if we can block everything that Covid-19 does with the T cells of the patients that we have followed, we’ll be We are very close to controlling the disease. “