Prior Exposure to Common Cold Won’t Shield You From COVID

THURSDAY, February 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) – It would be nice if that were true, but a bout of the common cold will not protect you against the new coronavirus infection, researchers report.

Colds are caused by seasonal coronaviruses (CoVs), and previous studies have suggested that exposure to cold coronaviruses may protect against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

To find out if this was true, researchers analyzed blood samples taken from hundreds of people before the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 20% of the samples contained antibodies to CoV which could theoretically bind to both cold-causing CoVs and key sites of SARS-CoV-2.

However, these antibodies did not reduce the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 and were not associated with better outcomes in people who subsequently contracted COVID-19, according to the study published online on the 9th. February in the review. Cell.

The researchers also tested the blood of different groups of people and found that, on average, children and adults tended to have similar levels of CoV antibodies.

This suggests that these antibodies aren’t the reason most children don’t develop severe COVID-19, the study authors concluded.

“We found that many people had antibodies that could bind to SARS-CoV-2 before the pandemic, but these antibodies could not prevent infections,” said study leader Scott Hensley. He is Associate Professor of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

“Although antibodies from previous coronavirus infections may not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections, it is possible that pre-existing memory B and T cells could potentially provide some level of protection or at least reduce the severity of COVID-19 disease. Studies are needed to be completed to test this hypothesis, ”Hensley said in an academic press release.

Larger studies are needed to definitively answer the question of whether pre-existing anti-CoV antibodies can protect against SARS-CoV-2 viruses, the researchers said.

But one expert praised the results.

“The idea that having the snuffles a while ago somehow protected you from SARS-CoV-2 infection always left me cold, but it’s an urban legend lingering throughout the pandemic, “said Dr John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said The New York Times. “Hopefully this new paper will finally chill everyone and put such thoughts in the freezer.”

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Jothi Venkat

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