The body’s own immune defense cells – so-called T cells – can recognize surprisingly large parts of the new SARS-CoV-2 virus.
This was the finding of an international team of scientists led by the Tyrolean researcher Daniela Weiskopf from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) in California. This also opens up additional options for vaccine development, according to the researchers in the journal “Science Immunology”.
In the case of SARS-CoV-2, the scientists obtained astonishingly uniform results: For example, they found T-helper cells that reacted to the novel coronavirus in all ten closely examined patients, eight out of ten also had T-killer cells that were found to be against the pathogen Position. Their amount also increased over time. “There has been speculation that the virus may be hiding from the immune system. But we have shown that it is recognized well, ”said Weiskopf.
The characteristic spike protein, which acts as a target for almost all vaccines under development, was also recognized by the immune system of the infected persons examined. “This is good news for vaccine developers.”
The very similar findings in the USA and the Netherlands indicate that the immune system can recognize SARS-CoV-2 relatively well in many regions. It remains to be found out whether this is actually the case: “It is important to us that we freely share the reagents. I have distributed them to 60 different laboratories worldwide, ”says the researcher.