A study suggests that catching a cold may provide some protection

A study suggests that catching a cold may provide some protection

They included 52 people who lived with someone who had Covid-19, according to Nature Communications.

Those who formed a "memory bank" of immune cells following a cold were less likely to get Covid.

Experts argue this isn't enough and that immunizations are essential.

They believe these discoveries can help understand how the body's immune system fights viruses.

Coronaviruses cause Covid-19 and some colds, so scientists wondered if immunity to one could help with the other.
Experts warn against assuming recent cold sufferers are immune to Covid-19 because not all are caused by coronaviruses.

The Imperial College London team wanted to know why some people get Covid and others don't.
They studied T-cells, an important component of the immune system.

Some T-cells kill cells infected with a specific danger, such a cold virus.

In addition, after the cold, some T-cells stay in the body as a memory bank, ready to defend against the virus.

To test for Covid-19, researchers evaluated 52 people who had not yet been vaccinated but lived with those who had.

A month later, half of the group got Covid and half didn't.

A third of those who didn't get Covid had high amounts of memory T-cells in their blood.

These were likely formed after the body was infected with another closely related human coronavirus - usually a cold.

Researchers acknowledge that other factors like ventilation and household contact could influence whether patients got sick.

"Even though this was a modest study, it adds to our understanding of how our immune system fights virus," said Dr. Simon Clarke of the University of Reading.

It should not be over-interpreted," he warned. It's improbable that everyone who's died or had a major infection hasn't had a coronavirus-induced cold.

In addition, only 10-15% of colds are caused by coronaviruses, therefore anyone who has had a cold may be immune to Covid-19.

Professor Ajit Lalvani, senior author of the paper, agreed.

"Learning from what the body does well could help build future vaccinations," he added.

The current vaccines target spike proteins on the virus's surface, but these spike proteins can alter with new variations.

The body's T-cells target internal virus proteins, which don't alter much from variant to variant, he said.