Even though the exact role of T-cells remains unclear, these cells help COVID-19-infected people to fight against the infection.
Scientists are still struggling with the research of determining how long these cells can fight. Researchers have found these cells in the blood of the patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
Still, it’s unclear whether these cells will protect these patients from COVID-19 re-infection and if so, then for how long?
How do These Cells work?
T-cells recognize the virus fragments. As the cells identify the viral protein, helper T-cells release chemical signals which trigger the other parts of the immune system to come into action.
How Researchers Found T-Cells?
According to Science News, the viral protein which can be recognised by the T-cells easily were predicted first. Then the researchers mixed these viral proteins with immune cells, extracted from the blood sample of eleven healthy people and ten COVID-19 infected patients.
Between 2013-2018, researchers studied the immune cells of the aformentioned healthy people.
Seventy percent of the patients recovered, providing shelter to the T-cells along with its helper. These cells recognised all the viral proteins, including the ones which coat the genetic material.
“This is an encouraging data,” says Columbia University virologist Angela Rasmussen.
“One reason that a large chunk of the population may be able to deal with the virus is that we may have some small residual immunity from our exposure to common cold viruses,” says viral immunologist Steven Varga of the University of Iowa.
According to researchers, these cells can help people who haven’t been infected with COVID-19. Even though it’s not proven that people can become immune to COVID-19, it has brought some hope in the vaccine development department.