- A new study compared blood samples collected before the pandemic to those from people infected with COVID-19
- Levels of an antibody generated by immune system cells called memory B cells were higher in the samples from the COVID-19 survivors
- These antibodies circulate in the bloodstream for years and ‘remember’ diseases and are called back into action if the threat returns
- Researchers say the findings could help scientists develop a vaccine or antibody treatment that protects against all coronaviruses
An antibody that develops after people have the common cold can neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19, a new study suggests.
Both the common cold and SARS-CoV-2 fall under a family known as coronaviruses, which cause upper-respiratory tract illnesses.
However, it was believed that antibodies that react to ordinary coronaviruses didn’t work against the virus that leads to COVID.
But in blood samples of COVID survivors, researchers found high levels of immune cells generated during the common cold that ‘remember’ diseases and are called back into action if the threat returns.
The team, from the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California, says the findings could help scientists develop a vaccine or antibody treatment that protects against all coronaviruses.