A team of researchers from La Jolla Institute for Immunology, U.S., revealed that T cells from COVID-19 recovered individuals or those administered with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines offer potential to identify several variants of SARS-CoV-2.
A study by La Jolla Institute for Immunology suggests that the helper T cells, ‘CD4+’, and killer T cells, ‘CD8+’ have the potential to identify virus and its mutated forms. The researchers explained that this reactivity is very important to understand the immune response of the body. This immune response plays a major role in killing infected cells which, in turn, prevents severe infections.
The researchers studied about the body’s T cells response to the coronavirus and its mutant forms. They mainly focused on those mutants, which are concerning for public health, commonly referred as variants of concern. In this study, data of the four most common variants of concern such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Epsilon were considered. The researchers were closely associated with over 20 different laboratories across the globe to get comprehensive details about T cell reactivity to these variants of concern.
The researchers revealed that T cells are not affected by the VOCs. They considered three different groups to study the T cells. The first group comprises COVID-19 recovered people. The second group consists of individuals vaccinated with either of the two vaccines; Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. The last group of people were the ones who never contracted the coronavirus. The researchers found that the first and the second group probably had T cells that could identify the ancestral lineage of coronavirus. They further added that both the first and the second group had cross-reactive T cells which had the potential to target the variants of concern.
The findings of the study shed light on the ability of T cells to fight SARS-CoV-2. The researchers revealed that COVID-19 vaccines are playing a major role by developing antibodies that fight and prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections. Moreover, T cells act as a backup system if in case the virus escape the antibodies produced by the vaccine.