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An immune response triggered by previous exposure to the common cold may protect against COVID-19, according to a new peer-reviewed study published In nature communication Monday, a preliminary but promising discovery could pave the way for more long-lasting vaccines that protect against current and future forms of the coronavirus, researchers say.

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People with higher levels of T cells – a type of white blood cell that is an important part of the immune system – from other coronavirus infections such as the common cold are less likely to contract the virus that causes Covid-19, according to a study Researchers from Imperial College London.

For the study, which took place in September 2020 (before most in the UK were infected or vaccinated against COVID-19), researchers followed 52 people who had COVID-19, half of whom had had contracted. ,

For half who did not become infected, blood samples taken immediately after exposure revealed high levels of T cells from previous coronavirus infections, such as a cold, which can also recognize the protein in the virus that causes COVID-19. formed, the researchers said.

Professor Ajit Lalwani, senior author of the study, said The findings “provide the clearest evidence to date that T cells induced by common cold coronaviruses play a protective role against COVID” and may hold the key to developing a universal vaccine that protects against current and future variants.

The study noted that T cells attack proteins inside the virus rather than the spike proteins on its surface (targeted by the most widely used vaccines), which Lalwani said are very few mutated and can be found in different types. make more “widely protective vaccines” between

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