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posted by martyb on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the getting-closer dept.

From the latest blog post of Derek Lowe :

One of the big (and so far unanswered) questions about the coronavirus epidemic is what kind of immunity people have after becoming infected. This is important for the idea of “re-infection” (is it even possible?) and of course for vaccine development. We’re getting more and more information in this area, though, and this new paper is a good example. A team from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, UNC, UCSD, and Mt. Sinai (NY) reports details about the T cells of people who have recovered from the virus.

[...] So overall, this paper makes the prospects for a vaccine look good: there is indeed a robust response by the adaptive immune system, to several coronavirus proteins. And vaccine developers will want to think about adding in some of the other antigens mentioned in this paper, in addition to the Spike antigens that have been the focus thus far. It seems fair to say, though, that the first wave of vaccines will likely be Spike-o-centric, and later vaccines might have these other antigens included in the mix. But it also seems that Spike-protein-targeted vaccines should be pretty effective, so that’s good. The other good news is that this team looked for the signs of an antibody-dependent-enhancement response, which would be bad news, and did not find evidence of it in the recovering patients (I didn’t go into these details, but wanted to mention that finding, which is quite reassuring). And it also looks like the prospects for (reasonably) lasting immunity after infection (or after vaccination) are good. This, from what I can see, is just the sort of response that you’d want to see for that to be the case. Clinical data will be the real decider on that, but there’s no reason so far to think that a person won’t have such immunity if they fit this profile.

Onward from here, then – there will be more studies like this coming, but this is a good, solid look into the human immunology of this outbreak. And so far, so good.

Be sure to read the article if you’ve been wondering what your thymus has done for you lately.

Journal Reference
Alba Grifoni, Daniela Weiskopf. Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in humans with COVID-19 disease and unexposed individuals, Cell (DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.015)


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by jelizondo on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:36PM (4 children)

    by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:36PM (#995401) Journal

    First, I’ll say that we don’t know much at this time about the COVID-19 virus.

    From what I read, people that had the infection could be reinfected, which would speak against a vaccine or “herd immunity” much touted by different governments and/or scientists.

    See:

    Risk of reactivation or reinfection of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) [nih.gov]

    This issue has been brought to the public attention as on April 13, South Korea reported that 116 recovered cases of COVID-19 has been found positive again

    Recovered patients who tested positive for COVID-19 likely not reinfected [livescience.com]

    Reports of patients testing positive twice aren't limited to South Korea; they have also poured in from other countries, including China and Japan. But the general consensus in the scientific community — with all the information available to date on the new coronavirus — is that people aren't being reinfected, but rather falsely testing positive, Reiss said.

    So maybe, maybe not. We need more research and more reliable test to make sure.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PocketSizeSUn on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:56PM

    by PocketSizeSUn (5340) on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:56PM (#995405)

    All of these cases can easily be attributed to failed testing (people being cleared that were simply below the PCR test sensitivity levels, or other PCR test accuracy fault), use of antivirals (which would not confer immunity).

    But yes. it is very important to keep ramping up the fear .. must ... must ... omb ... omb!

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday May 17 2020, @07:09PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday May 17 2020, @07:09PM (#995433)

    maybe, maybe not

    Always the case until more data is available.

    About those things you've "heard" so far... bear in mind the crappy performance of the early (and even current) tests, the slip-shod interpretation of the results, the political lensing of all the results distorting to obtain desired behaviors in the population rather than spread anything related to the truth.

    U.S. strategy (once the U.S. had a strategy beyond wishing it was all a false alarm) seems to have been pretty consistent: flatten the curve. This was the early message attributed to Obama, and all policy decisions to-date seem to have been somewhat successfully achieving that result. Whether by luck, or some prior information about COVID-19 along the lines of TFA, flattening the curve would seem to be a reasonable approach for minimal impact to the beloved economy / socio-economic hierarchy. Just make sure your at risk friends and loved ones protect themselves, otherwise they're going to be personally contributing to the post-COVID-19 reduced elder and healthcare burden dividend.

    --
    My karma ran over your dogma.
  • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday May 18 2020, @12:29AM

    by driverless (4770) on Monday May 18 2020, @12:29AM (#995534)

    Yup. There's lots of studies strongly indicating you can get reinfected, meaning you don't build up immunity, or that it's only temporary. Picking out this one study that says something you'd really like to hear doesn't invalidate all of the others. That, combined with the fact that no-one has ever managed to create an effective vaccine for a coronavirus, means I'm betting on ongoing precautions rather than a silver bullet vaccine for the future.

  • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday May 18 2020, @04:38AM

    by Reziac (2489) on Monday May 18 2020, @04:38AM (#995609) Homepage

    Just as a data point: Dogs that have recovered from parvovirus typically harbor live virus for a year or more afterward (and will shed infective virus in feces). In rare cases they have a relapse (usually less serious). Anyway, not an unknown scenario.