Sumary of Pre-existing antibodies created during COVID-19 may protect children against new pandemic strain:
- Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Nov 9 2020 Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London have found that some antibodies, created by the immune system during infection with common cold coronaviruses, can also target SARS-CoV-2 and may confer a degree of protection against the new viral strain..
- These antibodies remain in the blood for a period after infection, and in the case of re-infection, they are able to tackle the virus again..
- In their paper, published in Science today (Friday 6 November), the scientists found that some people, notably children, have antibodies reactive to SARS-CoV-2 in their blood, despite not ever having being infected with the virus..
- These antibodies are likely the result of exposure to other coronaviruses, which cause a common cold and which have structural similarities with SARS-CoV-2..
- Surprisingly, they found that some people who had not been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 had antibodies in their blood which would recognise the virus..
- Nearly all samples had antibodies that reacted with common cold coronaviruses, which was expected given how everyone has been exposed to these viruses at some point in their lives..
- However, a small fraction of adult donors, about 1 in 20, also had antibodies that cross-reacted with SARS-CoV-2, and this was not dependent on recent infection with a common cold coronavirus..
- Notably, such cross-reactive antibodies were found much more frequently in blood samples taken from children aged 6 to 16..
- In the lab, the researchers tested the antibodies they found in blood from uninfected people to confirm they are able to neutralise SARS-CoV-2..
- They found the cross-reactive antibodies target the S2 subunit of the spike protein on the surface of the virus….