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PNAS: Cold immunity protects children from COVID-19

Swedish scientists from Karolinska University have found that immunity against a common cold pathogen can protect children from COVID-19. Conclusions of the work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The authors studied blood samples from 48 children between the ages of two and six and 94 blood samples from adults between the ages of 26 and 83. The analysis also included blood samples from 58 people who had recently recovered from coronavirus infection.

The results showed that T cells previously activated by the OC43 coronavirus, which causes mild SARS, can also respond effectively against SARS-CoV-2. These reactions are particularly pronounced during childhood and adolescence and weaken over time.

Associated materials:

This was confirmed during the pandemic: children and adolescents infected with COVID-19 began to fall ill less often than adults. One possible explanation for the children’s unexpected immunity is that they once had a cold caused by one of the four coronaviruses, which could have spurred an immune response.

In the future, the team wants to conduct similar studies in toddlers, older children, adolescents and young adults to better track how the immune response to coronaviruses changes as they grow.

In February 2022, German scientists REMARKthat children have an unusually long shelf life of coronavirus antibodies – about nine months.

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