Covid-19: can we immunize ourselves without having contracted the disease?
The immunity of Covid-19 patients is still debated, but researchers are trying to find other ways to slow the spread of the virus by determining other immune mechanisms.
Research on a vaccine or treatment to fight Covid-19 continues. If immunity sometimes seems to be confirmed in people who have been affected by the virus, asymptomatically or under a more severe form of the disease, doctors seek to identify other ways to immunize the population.
Several studies also agree that immunity may be possible without contracting the disease.
Immunity: an antibody generated during previous infections?
A study, carried out by Andreas Thiel and his team of researchers from the University of Berlin (Germany), and published in the scientific journal Nature, revealed the presence of CD4 T lymphocytes, both in patients affected by Covid-19 (in 83% of cases) and in test participants who were not exposed to the virus (in 35% of cases).
What interests specialists is that these lymphocytes are cells that secrete antibodies and could play an important role in immunity.
"Probably generated during past encounters with endemic coronaviruses," these antibodies could be present in the bodies of some people who have never contracted the disease.
As the German specialists point out, more research is needed to confirm this hypothesis, but it could be useful in the search for a vaccine against Covid-19.
The use of synthetic antibodies before the discovery of a vaccine?
Same hypothesis by American researchers, whose study was published in the journal Science. They believe that "synthetic antibodies could fight COVID-19 before vaccines arrive," and that research in this area should be faster than the development of a vaccine, which is based on agents, antigens that will trigger the immune response.
These synthetic antibodies could be a "Covid-19 cocktail", formulated from a monoclonal antibody (that is, from a single cell line), capable, in case of contact with the virus, to "neutralize" the infection before it begin.
According to them, "these antibodies could protect healthcare workers at increased risk of infection while reducing the severity of COVID-19 disease in hospital patients."