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Previous Encounters with Routine Cold Coronaviruses May Enhance T Cell Response Against SARS-CoV-2

Jan 28, 2024
Our recent advancements in Interchangeable T Cell Studies have opened new avenues in understanding immune responses against SARS-CoV-2, paving the way for innovative vaccine developments.
Homed-Previous Encounters with Routine Cold Coronaviruses May Enhance T Cell Response Against SARS-CoV-2

Cross-Reactive T Cell Research

LJI’s Pioneering Research on T Cells and SARS-CoV-2

At the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), researchers have unveiled a crucial finding. They discovered that exposure to coronaviruses responsible for the common cold can prime T cells to effectively combat SARS-CoV-2. Interestingly, this exposure also seems to shield mice from lung damage in subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Study Published in Nature Communications

A recent Nature Communications publication highlights this study. It delves into the role of “cross-reactive” T cells in an animal model. These cells can combat various viruses within the same family. Significantly, study co-leader Annie Elong Ngono, Ph.D., focuses on the importance of understanding how these cells develop and function.

Advancements in Vaccine Development at Shresta Lab

Moreover, the Shresta Laboratory is making strides in vaccine development. Using these findings, their goal is to create vaccines that not only target SARS-CoV-2 but also offer protection against other coronaviruses with pandemic potential.

Key Role of Cross-Reactive T Cells

T cells are typically specialized, but cross-reactive T cells have a broader role. They can recognize similar viruses, such as different coronaviruses. This capability gained attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remarkably, LJI Professors Shane Crotty, Ph.D., and Alessandro Sette, Dr.Biol.Sci., discovered that some individuals had T cells pre-equipped to recognize SARS-CoV-2, despite no prior exposure to the virus.

Methodology and Insights from the Research

In this study, the researchers used mice capable of producing T cells similar to humans. Initially, they exposed these mice to the common cold coronavirus OC43. They observed that these mice developed T cells that were also reactive to SARS-CoV-2. Further, a sequential infection model revealed that these T cells could offer protection against severe COVID-19.

Implications for Future Vaccine Development

Consequently, this research opens new avenues for vaccine design. The team is now investigating how exposure to various common cold viruses influences T cell development. This approach is vital for creating vaccines that are effective against a range of coronaviruses, including new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

LJI’s Crucial Contribution to Research

Finally, LJI has played a pivotal role in this groundbreaking research. They have provided essential resources and facilities, including a biosafety level 3 laboratory. Funded by philanthropic support, this laboratory has been critical for conducting these and other vital studies.

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Cross-Reactive T Cell Research

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