Cross-reactivity & sars-cov2: 
Can there be pre-existing immunity?

Is Natural Immunity Lowering COVID-19 Cases?

Despite the WHO’s attempt to redefine ‘natural herd immunity,’ the term has suddenly reappeared in the news cycle to explain the 55% drop in Coronavirus cases this last month.

A study in India revealed over half of the residents in its capital city already have antibodies, the majority of whom were never infected.

The link takes you to a video at The HighWire.


Cross-reactivity: Can exposure to one or more coronaviruses protect from other coronaviruses?

BMJ 2020; Published 17 September 2020

by Peter Doshi, associate editor

"It seemed a truth universally acknowledged that the human population had no pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2, but is that actually the case? Peter Doshi explores the emerging research on immunological responses.

"...a stream of studies that have documented SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells in people without exposure to the virus are raising questions about just how new the pandemic virus really is, with many implications."

Not so novel coronavirus?

"At least six studies have reported T cell reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 in 20% to 50% of people with no known exposure to the virus.

"In a study of donor blood specimens obtained in the US between 2015 and 2018, 50% displayed various forms of T cell reactivity to SARS-CoV-2.   A similar study that used specimens from the Netherlands reported T cell reactivity in two of 10 people who had not been exposed to the virus...

Swine Flu déjà vu

"In late 2009, months after the World Health Organization declared the H1N1 “swine flu” virus to be a global pandemic,  Alessandro Sette was part of a team working to explain why the so called “novel” virus did not seem to be causing more severe infections than seasonal flu.

"Their answer was pre-existing immunological responses in the adult population: B cells and, in particular, T cells, which “are known to blunt disease severity.”

“the vulnerability of a population to a pandemic virus is related in part to the level of pre-existing immunity to the virus.”

Other studies came to the same conclusion: people with pre-existing reactive T cells had less severe H1N1 disease.1314 In addition, a study carried out during the 2009 outbreak by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 33% of people over 60 years old had cross reactive antibodies to the 2009 H1N1 virus, leading the CDC to conclude that “some degree of pre-existing immunity” to the new H1N1 strains existed, especially among adults over age 60.

"The data forced a change in views at WHO and CDC, from an assumption before 2009 that most people “will have no immunity to the pandemic virus”16 to one that acknowledged that “the vulnerability of a population to a pandemic virus is related in part to the level of pre-existing immunity to the virus.”

"But by 2020 it seems that lesson had been forgotten..." 

Full article

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