Researchers from Imperial College London have said that people who have high levels of T cells from the common cold are less likely to catch the virus, but they warned “no one should rely on this alone” and still get vaccinated.
The new peer reviewed study said these findings may help with a blueprint with making new vaccines which could provide longer lasting immunity.
The researchers said this is an “important discovery” as the high level of T cells could form an important role in fighting Covid.
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.
“While this is an important discovery, it is only one form of protection, and I would stress that no one should rely on this alone.
“Instead, the best way to protect yourself against Covid-19 is to be fully vaccinated, including getting your booster dose.”
Professor Ajit Lalvani, senior author of the study and Director of the NIHR Respiratory Infections Health Protection Research Unit at Imperial, said, “Our study provides the clearest evidence to date that T cells induced by common cold coronaviruses play a protective role against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“These T cells provide protection by attacking proteins within the virus, rather than the spike protein on its surface.
“New vaccines that include these conserved, internal proteins would therefore induce broadly protective T cell responses that should protect against current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants.”