A new study from researchers at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) and Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC) shows that even the sickest COVID-19 patients produce T cells that help fight the virus.
A new study from researchers at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) and Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC) shows that even the sickest COVID-19 patients produce T cells that help fight the virus. The study offers further evidence that a COVID-19 vaccine will need to elicit T cells to work alongside antibodies.
The research, published June 26, 2020 in Science Immunology, also reveals that both Dutch and American patients have similar responses to the virus. “This is key to understanding how the immune response fights the virus,” says LJI Professor Alessandro Sette, Dr. Biol. Sci., who co-led the study with Erasmus MC Virologist Rory de Vries, Ph.D. “You want vaccine approaches to be grounded in observations from rather diverse settings to ensure that the results are generally applicable.”
For the study, the researchers followed ten COVID-19 patients with the most severe disease symptoms. All ten were admitted to the ICU at Erasmus University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, and put on ventilators as part of their care. Two of the patients eventually died of the disease. An in-depth look at their immune system responses showed that all ten patients produced T cells that targeted the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These T cells worked alongside antibodies to try to clear the virus and stop the infection.
“Activating these cells appears to be at least as important as the production of antibodies,” says Erasmus MC Virologist Rory de Vries, Ph.D., who co-led the study with Sette.
Read more at La Jolla Institute for Immunology
Image: COVID-19 samples are stored in large liquid nitrogen tanks. (Credit: La Jolla Institute for Immunology)