Learn about the human immune response to Covid-19. Get information on the possibility of herd immunity and what it will take to achieve it.
Covid-19 has not only caused hundreds of thousands of deaths but also led to economic devastation. Scientists, researchers, and doctors are working day and night to find solutions for tackling the virus and helping infected people recover. Immune responses to the virus, however, remain unclear. Efforts are still being made in uncovering more about the pathogen to come up with a vaccine. Herd immunity is also something the world is relying on to battle the devastating effects of the virus.
Immunity in patients with previous coronavirus infections
Note that, in most cases, herd immunity for infections is achieved by vaccinating as many people as possible in a population. Unfortunately for coronavirus, a vaccine has not yet been found. No vaccine for other types of coronavirus has been found either: most scientists believe that there is a possibility that a vaccine for Covid-19 may never be found.
In this case, herd immunity through natural infections may be the only hope. This may take up to 60% of the population to be infected for it to be achieved.
T-Cells and Covid-19 long term immunity
The activation of cytotoxic T cells determines the effectiveness of the immune system’s response to a virus. T cells clear an infection by destroying the infected cells. There are not many findings yet regarding the role of T cells in fighting Covid-19. However, two studies have shown that infected persons have T cells that specifically target the virus.
In other studies, it has been found that people who have not been infected with Covid-19 before also have cellular defenses, probably resulting from exposure to other coronaviruses. Immune cells from patients who had recovered from mild cases of Covid-19 were exposed to viral snippets. The findings were encouraging. It turned out that the immune cells of 70% of the patients carried helper T cells, which were able to recognize the Covid-19 spike protein. What this means is, when exposed to the virus, the immune system of the patients will be able to mount an immune response.
To further verify this, samples of subjects with no history of infection of the virus were also collected. On exposure to viral snippets, 34% of the immune cells were able to recognize Covid-19. Researchers believe that the response of these cells was triggered by previous exposure to other types of coronaviruses, such as the ones causing colds.
Covid-19 herd immunity
As Covid-19 continues to spread, the higher the number of people with immunities able to resist infection increases. What does this mean? Basically, the spread of the virus will be managed since most people who encounter an infected person will be less likely to be infected and spread the virus. There are however, no studies that show whether immunity will be long-term or short term. Most viral infections mutate over time; hence one can only be immune for a short period of time. More studies are being conducted, and there will soon be a clear answer to this.
Paul Singh, MHA, BA
Covid Antibody Diagnostics™
A Natures Body Wellness Corporation, Lake Mary FL 32746
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