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The role of cross-reactive T cells in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2

The COVIDsortium study is a UCL and St Bartholomew’s Hospital-led observational study which aims to monitor a large cohort of London-based healthcare workers from the time of the first UK lockdown.

In a new research paper published in Nature, researchers from UCL use this dataset to analyse changes in immune responses in the intensely monitored healthcare workers over the first wave of infections in the UK. They detected SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthcare workers who were exposed to the virus but repeatedly tested negative by PCR and antibodies, and compared these to those who tested positive, and to an unexposed pre-pandemic cohort.

Journalists dialled in to hear the study investigators present their work and answer questions such as:

– How may pre-existing T-cells contribute to protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection?

– What part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could the T cells be targeting and what is the significance of this?

– What implications could this research have for future SARS-Cov-2 and other coronavirus vaccines? 


Speakers included:

Prof Mala Maini, Professor of Viral Immunology, UCL

Dr Leo Swadling, Medical Research Foundation Research Fellow, UCL


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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