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Study Finds Immune Memory Less Durable Post Severe COVID Infection

Evelien Bunnik, PhD, corresponding author of the paper said that the results hint of subtle differences in the quality of immune response based on COVID-19 severity

Study Finds Immune Memory Less Durable Post Severe COVID Infection
A more dysfunctional B cell response is seen in severe COVID-19 cases: Study
Highlights
  • The study focused on memory B cells that reacted against spike protein
  • Blood samples were analyzed 1 and 5 months after symptom onset
  • After a month, significant proportion of spike-specific B cells were active

Texas: According to new research, infection-fighting B cells retain better memory of the coronavirus spike protein in patients who recover from less-severe cases of COVID-19 than in those recovering from severe COVID-19. The study has been published in the ‘PLOS ONE Journal’. The findings were by scientists from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Evelien Bunnik, PhD, corresponding author of the paper said that the results hint of subtle differences in the quality of immune response based on COVID-19 severity. Dr. Bunnik is an assistant professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the health science center, also referred to as UT Health San Antonio.

Also Read: Omicron Can Evade Protection Offered By Covid Vaccines, Antibody Therapies: Study

The study focused on memory B cells that reacted against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Blood samples were analyzed one month after symptom onset and five months post-onset. After one month, a significant proportion of spike-specific B cells were active.

However, samples from eight individuals who recovered from less-severe disease showed increased expression of markers associated with durable B cell memory as compared to individuals who recovered from severe disease, the authors wrote. The markers included T-bet and FcRL5.

T-bet-positive, spike-specific B cells nearly disappeared from the blood samples five months post-symptom onset, the authors noted. Overall, a more dysfunctional B cell response is seen in severe disease cases, they wrote.

Non-severe cases were defined as not requiring supplemental oxygen or invasive ventilation, while severe cases needed invasive mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

Also Read: Double Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine Saves Lives From Omicron: Managing Director, LNJP Hospital

“The definition of severe disease was made based on the need for mechanical ventilation or ECMO, because this distinguishes the most critical patients, who are the most likely to develop impaired immune responses,” said study senior author Thomas Patterson, MD, professor and chief of infectious diseases at UT Health San Antonio who leads COVID-19 care at clinical partner University Health.

Study participants were enrolled in the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT)-1 or ACTT-2 clinical trials. Samples were from University Health patients co-enrolled in the UT Health San Antonio COVID-19 Repository.

The increased percentage of B cells associated with long-lived immunity in non-severe COVID-19 patients may have consequences for long-term immunity against SARS-CoV-2 re-infection or severity of the resulting disease, the authors wrote.

Also Read: Too Soon To Decide If Omicron More Severe Than Delta, Be Cautious Ahead Of Festivals: World Health Organization

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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