These are the UK coronavirus stories you need to know about today.
T-cell Immunity ‘May Last Longer Than Antibodies’
UK preprint research gives evidence that T-cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 may last longer than antibody immunity.
The research is from the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC) and Public Health England.
It assessed cellular immune response at 6 months following primary infection in 100 healthy adults with asymptomatic or mild-to-moderate COVID-19.
Study author, Dr Shamez Ladhani, consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England, said: “Cellular immunity is a complex but potentially very significant piece of the COVID-19 puzzle, and it’s important that more research be done in this area. However, early results show that T-cell responses may outlast the initial antibody response, which could have a significant impact on COVID vaccine development and immunity research.”
Professor Paul Moss, UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium lead from University of Birmingham, said: “To our knowledge, our study is the first in the world to show robust cellular immunity remains at 6 months after infection in individuals who experienced either mild/moderate or asymptomatic COVID-19. Interestingly, we found that cellular immunity is stronger at this time point in those people who had symptomatic infection compared with asymptomatic cases. We now need more research to find out if symptomatic individuals are better protected against reinfection in the future.”
Commenting via the Science Media Centre, Professor Charles Bangham, chair of immunology, Imperial College London, said: “These results provide reassurance that, although the titre of antibody to SARS-CoV-2 can fall below detectable levels within a few months of infection, a degree of immunity to the virus may be maintained. However, the critical question remains: do these persistent T-cells provide efficient protection against re-infection? It will also be important to follow the antibody and T-cell immunity in people who develop the syndrome of long COVID – the persistent and sometimes debilitating condition that follows acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in a still uncertain proportion of people. Finally, the data in this paper reinforce the need for care in interpreting the results of serological (antibody) tests: it is still unclear how well either the antibody titre or the T-cell frequency correlate with actual protection against reinfection.”
2 Weeks to See Benefit of England’s Second Lockdown
NHS England’s Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, has cautioned that it’ll take until half way through England’s 4 week national lockdown to see improvements in infections. “It takes around a fortnight for today’s infections in the community to result in hospital COVID admissions – so what happens over the next 2 weeks is partly baked in. But the measures announced today [Oct 31] will help reduce the number of admissions beyond that,” he said in a statement.
“Daily hospital COVID admissions are now higher than on 23 March when the Prime Minister announced the first national lockdown.
“NHS doctors and nurses in many areas of England – including Liverpool, Lancashire, and Nottinghamshire – are now treating more COVID-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave.”
Three of the Nightingale