Oxford University researchers have found that infection with COVID-19 produces a robust T cell response, including inducing T cell ‘memory’ to potentially fight future infections.
The results, published in Nature Immunology, are a joint effort from the Oxford COVID-19 immunology group, led by the Medical Research Council Human Immunology Unit at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and the Chinese Academy of Medical Science Oxford Institute at the University of Oxford.
The team includes a number of NIHR Oxford BRC-funded investigators.
While research has shown that COVID-19 induces a B cell antibody response, it has been less clear whether COVID-19 causes the immune system to make virus-specific T cells too, and whether they are important for recovery from the initial infection, and protection against new infections.
While antibodies latch onto and destroy disease-causing agents like viruses and bacteria, T cells latch on to diseased cells within the body, such as tumour cells or virus-infected cells. T-cells also help attract other immune cells to the area.