T-cell responses offer protection against Omicron variant of Covid: Study

A new study has claimed that T-cells present in t he human body offer protection against the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

According to the study published by Viruses, T-cells act as weapons against the viral infection by eliminating cells infected cells by the disease.

“SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses induced by either natural infection or vaccines have been linked to rapid viral clearance and reduced disease severity, even when the neutralizing antibody response is reduced or absent,” the study said.

Therefore, if the SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses hold up, they are likely to help in limiting disease severity in infections caused by the Omicron variant that seemingly escapes neutralising antibodies, the study said.

However, the study published in Viruses pointed out that T-cell responses alone do not block the infection and do not prevent its transmission.

“While the number of infections may rise considerably as a consequence of Omicron’s ability to evade antibodies, robust T cell immunity provides hope that, similar to other variant of concerns (VOCs), the level of protection against severe disease would remain high,” it further said.

Previously, researchers and scientists have also said that 70-80% of T-cell responses are able to fight the Omicron variant.

First detected in South Africa in November last year, Omicron has caused an unprecedented surge in the number of Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations. To combat its spread, several countries have imposed restrictions but have shied away from complete lockdowns that might be detrimental to their economies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Omicron is quickly overtaking the previous Covid-19 variant Delta. Maria Van Kerkhove, the Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and Covid-19 Technical Lead at the WHO said on Tuesday that Omicron is currently the dominant variant.

She added that there will be a surge in hospitalisations and deaths as Omicron enters and circulates among vulnerable populations.







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