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T Cells May Help in Reducing COVID-19 Severity

Nov 17, 2020 9:15:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD

AdobeStock_339057741-1COVID-19 has been unpredictable and is still hard to understand, however, T Cells may help reduce the severity of certain cases of COVID-19.

The immune system is a collection of multiple players needed to protect an organism from pathogenic invaders. When a pathogen such as a virus enters the body, a series of events leads to the generation of antibodies that neutralize the virus. The production of an antibody response has been the primary focus of understanding how the body can combat infection with SARS-CoV-2. 

Recent research has revealed that to have the best response to infection with the SARS-CoV-2, a multicomponent immune mechanism is paramount. The primary players are cytotoxic T cells, helper T cells, and antibodies produced by B cells, all of which are necessary to reduce the severity of the body’s response to or illness caused by the virus. Most human vaccines are based on enhancing the body’s production of neutralizing antibodies. However, T cells appear to be the most important component of the immune arsenal to combat SARS-CoV-2; thus, vaccine efforts should take this into account. 

The observation that people of advanced age and those with underlying chronic illnesses can be more vulnerable to the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection may be due to lower T cell stores in these populations and associated immunological pathologies. A study was conducted to analyze the three principal immune components of the antigen-specific adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in the peripheral blood of unexposed people and those with SARS-CoV-2 who were ill or recovering. 

Measurement of functional SARS-CoV-2 antibodies via neutralization assays showed that SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies were detectable in the majority of the COVID-19 cases. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cells (Helper T cells) were detected in most convalescent COVID-19 samples, but they were detected in only 77% of acute COVID-19 samples. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells (cytotoxic T cells) were detected in 87% of convalescent COVID-19 samples, but only 53% of the acute COVID-19 samples. Most of the convalescent and acute COVID-19 samples were found to have IFN-gamma+ CD8+ T cell responses. This work demonstrates that the interconnected function of immune components includes important T cells' roles in the protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

If you are interested in advancing medical research, HemaCare offers high-quality products, such as T cells and COVID-19 biospecimens. 


T cells take the lead in controlling SARS-CoV-2 and reducing COVID-19 disease severity. (2020). Retrieved 1 October 2020, from

Topics: T Cells

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