The speculation was compelling: Might youngsters be much less susceptible to the brand new coronavirus as a result of they carry antibodies to different coronaviruses that trigger the frequent chilly? May that additionally assist clarify why some individuals contaminated with the brand new virus have delicate signs whereas others are extra severely affected?
The notion gained traction notably amongst individuals who thought it could swiftly result in herd immunity. A examine within the journal Science, revealed in December, gave the speculation a robust increase.
However a new examine revealed on Tuesday within the journal Cell discovered that the idea doesn’t maintain up. Based mostly on experiments with stay virus and with lots of of blood samples drawn earlier than and after the pandemic, the analysis refutes the concept that antibodies to seasonal coronaviruses have any affect on the brand new coronavirus, referred to as SARS-CoV-2.
“Going into this examine, we thought we’d study that people that had pre-existing, pre-pandemic antibodies in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 can be much less inclined to an infection and have much less extreme Covid-19 illness,” mentioned Scott Hensley, an immunologist on the College of Pennsylvania. “That’s not what we discovered.”
He and his colleagues concluded that most individuals are uncovered to seasonal coronaviruses by age 5. In consequence, about one in 5 individuals carries antibodies that acknowledge the brand new coronavirus.
However the crew discovered that these antibodies are usually not neutralizing — they can not disarm the virus, nor do they mitigate the severity of signs after an infection.