Skip to content
The body can ‘remember’ past coronavirus infections

FRIDAY, January 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Previous coronavirus infections could trigger the immune system to fight off the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a new study suggests.

There are many types of coronavirus, including many that are harmless, which cause mild upper respiratory infections similar to the common cold.

Besides SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – other deadly coronaviruses include MERS-CoV, which caused a 2012 outbreak in Saudi Arabia of Middle East respiratory syndrome, and SARS- CoV-1, the first pandemic coronavirus. which caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003.

The authors of the new study investigated how coronaviruses affect the human immune system and also took a closer look at how the antibody response works.

“Our results suggest that the COVID-19 virus may arouse an antibody response that existed in humans before our current pandemic, which means that we may already have some degree of pre-existing immunity to this virus,” the author said. study principal, John Altin. He is an assistant professor in the branch of infectious diseases at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The findings could help scientists develop new diagnostic techniques and treatments, assess the effectiveness of convalescent plasma, and design new vaccines or monoclonal antibody therapies capable of protecting against mutations that may occur in the body. COVID-19 virus, researchers say.

The study was published on January 19 in the journal Cell Reports Medicine.

“Our results highlight sites where the SARS-CoV-2 response appears to be shaped by prior exposures to coronaviruses, and which have the potential to generate neutralizing antibodies on a large scale,” Altin said in a statement from institute press. He explained that these neutralizing antibodies can then “bind” to elements of the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the immune system’s response to SARS-CoV-2 might get help from previous exposure to other strains of the virus. coronavirus.

The study may help explain why the new coronavirus causes mild or no symptoms in some people, but severe infections that require hospitalization and often result in death in others.

According to study author Jason Ladner, assistant professor at the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute at Northern Arizona University, the new findings “raise the possibility that the nature of an individual’s antibody response to a previous infection with an endemic coronavirus may have an impact on the course of the COVID-19 disease.

More information

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

SOURCE: Translational Genomics Research Institute, press release, January 19, 2021