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The common cold could give COVID-19 protection, study says

New research suggests T cells from the common cold could help you tackle COVID-19

Photo of tissues used for the common cold.
New research suggests T cells from the common cold could help you tackle COVID-19.
Photo illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

Our body's defense against the common cold could offer protection against the novel coronavirus.

A new study — published in Nature Communications — looked at 52 individuals who lived with someone who recently caught COVID-19.

  • The patients who developed a ”memory bank” of immune cells after the common cold were less likely to get COVID-19, the study said.
  • Specifically, the T cells created by the common cold can fight off coronavirus infection.

Experts said that people shouldn’t rely on the common cold’s protection when fighting COVID-19, according to BBC News. People should still get vaccinated.

  • “Being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t always result in infection, and we’ve been keen to understand why,” said Dr. Rhia Kundu, lead of the study, from Imperial’s National Heart & Lung Institute, according to Sky News.
  • “We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells, created by the body when infected with other human coronaviruses like the common cold, can protect against COVID-19 infection,” he said.

These findings suggest that the body’s defense system might have the ability to fight off the coronavirus. If the body has immunity to other coronaviruses, it could tackle the novel one that’s become a large part of our society.

Per Reuters, these findings could offer guidance for future vaccines, too.