People with high levels of T cells from common colds are less likely to catch COVID, according to a new peer-reviewed study.
Researchers said the findings could help provide the blueprint for the production of new vaccines which give longer-lasting immunity and would protect against current and future coronavirus variants such as Omicron and Delta.
Imperial College London researchers say the high levels of T cells and the role in fighting COVID is an “important discovery” – but warned “no one should rely on this alone” and insisted people should still get vaccinated as the “best way” to protect against COVID.
T cells are a type of white blood cell that help protect the body from infection.
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Dr Rhia Kundu, first author of the study, from Imperial’s National Heart & Lung Institute, said: “Being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t always result in infection, and we’ve been keen to understand why.
“We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells, created by the body when infected with other human coronaviruses like the common cold, can protect against COVID-19 infection.