Updated: July 6, 2021 9:00:10 am
Researchers have found that T cells from people who have recovered from Covid-19, or received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, are still able to recognise several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Their study has been published in Cell Reports Medicine.
It found that both “helper” T cells and “killer” T cells can still recognise mutated forms of the virus.
The study includes data on four prevalent variants — Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1) and Epsilon (B.1.427/B.1.429). The Delta variant became prevalent after the study had been initiated, according to the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) website. It said ongoing studies have been expanded to more variants, including Delta.
The researchers analysed T cells from three different groups: people recovered from Covid-19, people who had received either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and people never exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (from samples taken before the pandemic).
The researchers tested T cell responses against Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Epsilon. They found that both vaccinated individuals and the recovered patients had cross-reactive T cells that could target these variants.
“With this study, the underlying message is optimistic…. As far as the T cell response goes, your immune system is still able to recognise these new variants and your T cells will be able to respond,” study first author Alison Tarke, PhD student of the University of Genoa and guested in the Sette Lab at LJI, is quoted as saying.
Source: v La Jolla Institute for Immunology