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If Masks Prevent Colds, Your Immune System Will Be Weaker

A recent scientific article reports that exposure to cold viruses “can train the immune system ” to recognize and fight the coronavirus. If that’s true, opponents of mandatory masks may have their best argument ever … 

August 5, 2020 

Live Science – Previous infections with common cold viruses can train the immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a new study.

The study, published Aug. 4 in the journal Science, found that immune cells known as T cells that recognize common cold coronaviruses also recognize specific sites on SARS-CoV-2 — including parts of the infamous “spike” protein it uses to bind to and invade human cells.

This existing immune system “memory” may explain why some people have milder COVID-19 infections compared with others; however, the authors stress that this hypothesis is “highly speculative” and requires more research to confirm.

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That’s because it’s unknown exactly how big a role T cells play in fighting COVID-19 — T cells are just one part of a complex menagerie of molecules and cells that makes up our immune system.

“We have now proven that, in some people, preexisting T-cell memory against common cold coronaviruses can cross-recognize SARS-CoV-2, down to the exact molecular structures,” study co-lead author Daniela Weiskopf, assistant professor at La Jolla Institute for Immunology in La Jolla, California, said in a statement.

It’s possible that this “immune reactivity may translate to different degrees of protection” against COVID-19, study co-lead author Alessandro Sette, a professor at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, said in the statement. “Having a strong T-cell response, or a better T-cell response may give you the opportunity to mount a much quicker and stronger response.”

Previous studies have shown that upwards of 50% of people never exposed to COVID-19 have T cells that recognize SARS-CoV-2. This ability has been seen in people around the world, in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

Scientists hypothesized that this existing immunity could be due to previous infections with other coronaviruses, specifically those that cause common cold infections … Read more. 

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