Recent research suggests that cross-resistance following the common seasonal cold may protect against COVID-19. Doctors, however, warn of a certain “but”. – Cross-resistance will never be as strong as the immune response after vaccination – says Prof. Joanna Zajkowska.
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1. Does cross-resistance protect against COVID-19?
Since the start of the pandemic, scientists have wondered why some people contract SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatically and others contract COVID-19. One of the theories assumed that some patients are protected by the so-called cross resistance.
It is based on the fact that contact with the pathogen “trains” the immune system. When it is infected with a related virus, parasite or bacterium, the immune system recognizes it and attacks it. According to scientists from Imperial College London, this is exactly what is happening with coronaviruses, which circulate freely in the environment and cause a lot of colds every fall and winter.
To confirm this thesis, scientists studied 52 people. All volunteers were families or lived together. There was at least one person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in each household. However, despite being in the shared space, it turned out that only half of 52 people contracted the coronavirus.
2. “People with cross-resistance do better with SARS-CoV-2”
Scientists examined blood samples of volunteers. It turned out that people who did not contract the coronavirus despite contact with the infected had significantly higher levels of T cells. These proteins are a critical part of the immune system and they ‘hunt’ pathogens by stopping them from replicating in the body.
“Our study provides clear evidence that T cells, induced in response to the coronaviruses that cause colds, play an important role in protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection,” emphasized Prof. Ajit Lalvani, one of the study authors and director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
According to prof. Joanna Zajkowska from the Department of Infectious Diseases and Neuroinfections at the Medical University of Bialystok and from Podlasie, an epidemiological consultant, the hypothesis of cross-resistance seems very likely.
– We have some infections every year. Some of these colds are caused by coronaviruses, so it’s quite possible that people with cross-resistance are better at dealing with SARS-CoV-2, says Prof. Zajkowska.
The expert warns, however, that in no case can this type of immunity be compared to the effect we get from vaccinations against COVID-19.
3. “Cross-resistance cannot be compared with the immunity obtained after vaccination against COVID-19”
Prof. Zajkowska emphasizes that cross-resistance is, above all, very weak and can only protect people in good health. For patients with stresses or in advanced age, immunity to other coronaviruses may not be sufficient to prevent severe COVID-19.
– In addition, immunity to other coronaviruses only lasts two years and does not protect against complications that can occur even after mild SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, cross-resistance cannot be compared with the immunity obtained after vaccination against COVID-19, emphasizes Prof. Zajkowska.
See also: Third dose of COVID-19 vaccine. “There is no risk of NOPs”
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