Catching cold may have stopped some from getting Covid-19 later

By Philip Norris & Simon Meechan

Catching a common cold may have stopped some people in Britain from contracting coronavirus, researchers suggest.

A study by Imperial College London suggests that exposure to colds can lead to high levels of Covid-fighting memory T-cells, the Telegraph reports.

The research was done in September 2020, before the vaccination programme started and the Omicron variant becoming Britain's dominant strain.

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The study looked at 52 people who were living with someone who had recently been infected with Covid-19.

Proffessor Ajit Lalvani, a director of Imperial's NIHR Respiratory Infections Health Protection Research Unit and the study's senior author said: "It’s a good proportion of the population, a third in our study,”

“It explains the good outcomes or resistance to infection for some people.

“It’s been a fundamental question since the start of the pandemic, why is there such a wide spectrum of outcomes in a naive population, some people in intensive care and dying and others not even getting infected?

“So it was postulated that exposure to common colds may leave memory T-cells that would protect people even though they’ve never seen Sars-CoV-2."

T-cells are an important part of the immune system's ability to kill cells infected by a virus such as a cold. After the cold has gone, the remaining memory cells act as a defence when the virus tries to hit again.

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