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Exposure to common colds could help determine how to fight COVID-19, study says

A new study suggests individuals’ reactions to COVID-19 could be based on the body’s response to viruses like common colds.
(WTVY)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 11:20 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/WTVF) - A new study suggests individuals’ reactions to COVID-19 could be based on the body’s response to viruses like common colds.

Dr. James Hildreth, Meharry Medical College president, said studies showed many people have T-cell responses to COVID-19 even though they have not been exposed before. T-cells are immunity defenders some people have that could determine how their body reacts to COVID-19.

According to the CDC, as the body fights off an infection, the immune system remembers how to protect the body against the virus. The body then retains specific T-cells that will alert and help the immune system identify and produce antibodies to attack the virus if it ever enters the body again.

“Viruses that look alike can sometimes elicit the same kinds of immune responses,” said Hildreth.

Dr. Hildreth said there are six strains of coronavirus that affect humans dating back to the 1960s, some of which result in the seasonal common cold.

According to Hildred, if a person who was infected with one of the viruses in the past it could determine the severity of the toll COVID-19 would have on that person.

“There’s the possibility that a response to one of them gives you a partial to another because they have genetic similarities,” said Hildreth.

Hildred said the results of the study can help with COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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