A study showed that there were people who were already immune to the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) before the COVID-19 pandemic.
If they develop a new vaccine by applying the immunity principle that defeated the Corona 19 virus, it is predicted that the vaccine will be effective for a longer period and prevent diseases such as colds caused by other coronaviruses.
University College London (UCL) Professor Mala Maini’s team, in the scientific journal ‘Nature’ on the 11th, followed up medical workers who worked in London hospitals during the first COVID-19 pandemic last year. was found to have had .
The research team tested the blood of 58 people who tested negative for PCR (gene amplification) and antibody tests while working in an environment with a very high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, and compared them with other healthcare workers who contracted COVID-19 during the same period.
As a result, it was found that the amount of ‘memory T cells’ that activate the immune system by recognizing the infiltrating Corona 19 virus in their blood increased in those who were not infected with Corona 19 even though no virus or antibody was detected. .
In particular, these memory T cells are not the viral surface spike proteins that most COVID-19 vaccines currently target, but rather a replication-transcription complex that is involved in viral replication.
RTC) has been shown to act on proteins.
The research team said that one out of 10 people exposed to a high-risk environment had no symptoms and the PCR or antibody tests were also negative. ) appears to have occurred.
It is that the memory T cells formed in the body from the past experience of being infected with other coronaviruses were activated by the penetration of the Corona 19 virus, and the virus was quickly removed at the early stage of infection to the extent that the virus could not be detected in the test.
The researchers note, in particular, that memory T cells are directly involved in the viral replication process and operate by targeting the replication-transcription complex, which is also present in the various coronaviruses that cause the common cold.
If a vaccine is developed that targets a protein that plays an important role in the replication process of all coronaviruses, the vaccine can be effective even if the spike protein is mutated, and it can be prepared for diseases such as colds caused by other coronaviruses.
Professor Maini said, “If a new vaccine is developed by applying the results of this T-cell research, it will be possible not only to prevent severe COVID-19, but also to prevent the infection itself. do,” he said.
Professor Alexander Edwards of the University of Reading, UK, who was not involved in the study, said: “This study provides important insights for the design of other types of vaccines. I hope to lose,” he said.