Vaccines work against Omicron, confirmation in T lymphocytes

Vaccines work against Omicron, confirmation in T lymphocytes

Vaccination against Covid-19 protects against the Omicron variant. And even if the antibodies drop over time and don’t recognize the new variants well, the T cells of the immune system remain on guard.

This is evidenced by a new study by the Research Institute and Ndolarrehabilitation Hospital Santa Lucia IRCCS in Rome, which shows the ability of the T cells of the immune system to recognize the new variant and therefore to protect against serious illness and hospitalization.

For the study, immunological analyzes were carried out on blood samples from 61 donors who had carried out different types of vaccinations. The protocol used for the research consists in the exposure of donor T lymphocytes to the Spike protein of the original SARS-CoV-2 strain, against which the vaccines currently in use have been prepared. 100% of donors responded with activation of coronavirus-specific T cells. The T lymphocytes were then exposed to mutated fragments of the Omicron variant Spike protein generating a cellular response in approximately 70% of individuals. However, this response was reduced by nearly 50%, which meant that fewer cells recognized the mutated Spike protein.

In light of these data, the residual efficacy of the mRNA vaccines was therefore estimated to be around 80% compared to that against the original variant. “Antibodies – underlines Giovanna Borsellino, director of the Laboratory of Ndolarimmunology of the Santa Lucia IRCCS – are only part of the tools that the immune system uses to fight infections. Cellular immunity is made up of an army of trained blood cells. to recognize the virus, also endowed with memory and longevity: T lymphocytes. With this work it has been shown that they also recognize the Omicron variant, albeit to a lesser extent than the original Wuhan virus against which we were vaccinated. These T lymphocytes have, chemically, a broader view of the virus than antibodies, and they manage to overlook small changes in its structure, always staying on target. ”

“These laboratory data – concludes the scholar – confirm clinical data from all over the world, with hospitalization and serious illness rates far lower than the previous waves that overwhelmed us when unvaccinated. These vaccines work, and even if the antibodies decrease over time and moreover they do not recognize the new variants well, the T lymphocytes remain on guard, and kill the infected cells thus interrupting the replicative cycle of the virus. Furthermore, the T lymphocytes can help the cells that produce the antibodies, favoring the generation of new neutralizing antibodies directed against the variants “.

We are therefore infected, but we are protected from serious illness.

(Unioneonline / vl)

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Written by Rebecca Bell

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