La Jolla Institute for Immunology study finds immunity from COVID-19 possible

Posted at 11:38 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 09:30:54-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A study by the La Jolla Institute for Immunology found that immunity from the coronavirus could be possible in some individuals.

Researchers studied blood samples of 20 people that have recovered from coronavirus. The group’s research focused on so-called T-cells.

According to Dr. Alessandro Sette, the T-Cells "orchestrate the anti-body response, and also the type of cells that seek out and kill the infected cells, so they're the cornerstone of immunity response."

Their research found that the body's immune system can recognize COVID-19 in many ways, dispelling fears that a vaccine may not be able to understand and combat it.

It provides a benchmark for several vaccines currently being developed.

"Our research says vaccines are possible. It doesn't say which vaccines are effective," Sette said. "It's the first real clear demonstration and study of t-cells against (COVID-19)."

They also looked at blood samples collected from donors between 2015 and 2018, before the pandemic and found something surprising.

Though the donors were never exposed to the virus, their T-cells reacted in some capacity. Sette said it could be because the general population encountered some of the more common cold coronaviruses and built some pre-existing immunity levels. It could also explain why the virus affects each person very differently.

"Could it be that in some people there is a pre-existing immune response that maybe is not efficient to fight off the virus but gives you an edge?" Sette asked.

The findings of the research were published in Thursday's online edition of the scientific journal Cell.

The results of their study will be shared with other researchers around the world.