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Covid-resistant people inspire new vaccine tactic

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    Covid-resistant people inspire new vaccine tactic

    Understanding how some people naturally resist Covid infection, despite clearly being exposed to the virus, could lead to better vaccines, say researchers.

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    A team at University College London said some people had a degree of Covid-immunity before the pandemic started.

    This likely came from the body learning how to fight viruses that are related to the one which has swept the world.

    Upgrading vaccines to copy this protection, could make the jabs even more effective, the team said.

    The scientists were closely monitoring hospital staff during the first wave of the pandemic – including by taking regular blood samples.

    Despite being in a high-risk environment, not everyone in the study came down with Covid. The results, published in the journal Nature, showed some people just managed to avoid the virus.

    But around one-in-10 had signs of being exposed, but never had symptoms, never tested positive and never developed Covid-fighting antibodies in their blood.

    Part of their immune system was able to get on top of the virus before it managed to take hold – what’s known as an “abortive infection”.

    Blood samples showed these people already had (as in before the pandemic) protective T-cells, which recognise and kill cells infected with Covid.

    Dr Leo Swadling, one of the researchers, said their immune systems were already “poised” to fight the new disease.

    These T-cells were able to spot a different part of the virus than the bit most of the current vaccines train the immune system to find.



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