COVID-19: The immune system can fight back

COVID-19: The immune system can fight back by University of Melbourne – Mar 2020 

This just makes sense: our immune systems have to deal with novel bacteria and viruses all during our lives. If our bodies had no ability to put up a fight against these new (to our bodies) invaders when they are first encountered, few of us would live past childhood.

Melbourne researchers have mapped immune responses from one of Australia’s first novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, showing the body’s ability to fight the virus and recover from the infection.

Researchers were able to test blood samples at four different time points in an otherwise healthy woman in her 40s, who presented with COVID-19 and had mild-to-moderate symptoms requiring hospital admission.  

One of the authors on the paper, research fellow Dr Oanh Nguyen said this was the first time that broad immune responses to COVID-19 have been reported.

Three days after the patient was admitted, we saw large populations of several immune cells, which are often a tell-tale sign of recovery during seasonal influenza infection, so we predicted that the patient would recover in three days, which is what happened.”

…the team were able to dissect the immune response leading to successful recovery from COVID-19, which might be the secret to finding an effective vaccine.

“We showed that even though COVID-19 is caused by a new virus, in an otherwise healthy person, a robust immune response across different cell types was associated with clinical recovery, similar to what we see in influenza,”

Dr Thevarajan said that current estimates show more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases are mild-to-moderate, and understanding the immune response in these mild cases is very important research.

And here’s the free full-text study itself:

Breadth of concomitant immune responses prior to patient recovery: a case report of non-severe COVID-19 – Nature – March 2020

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