For a glimpse into the future of SARS-CoV-2 immunity, scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) are investigating how the immune system builds its defenses against common cold coronaviruses (CCCs).
According to a new LJI study, published recently in Cell Host & Microbe, adults have stable memory responses of CCC-fighting antibodies and T cells, presumably derived from multiple exposures to CCCs in childhood. Thanks to this immune cell army, CCC infections in adulthood tend to be infrequent and mild.
These findings may be a clue to how immunity can build up against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the leading researchers think the COVID-19 booster shots available today may be critical for long-term immunity.
Like everything else in our bodies, the immune system depends on nutrients to function properly. According to a paper by Simin N. Meydani, PhD, a professor at the Friedman School and director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and her colleagues, mounting evidence suggests ensuring you get adeqate amounts of certain nutrients may help optimize immune function, including improving resistance to infection. Here is what we know so far:
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells, including immune cells, from oxidative damage. Evidence suggests vitamin E supports optimal immune function. While vitamin E supplementation can increase risk for bleeding and stroke, dietary intake is perfectly safe.
Vitamin E is found naturally in foods like plant oils (especially sunflower, safflower, and wheat germ oil), nuts, and seeds. This vitamin is sometimes added to processed foods like breakfast cereals (check Nutrition Facts labels). Green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, also provide some vitamin E.
Vitamin D receptors are found in most immune cells. Adequate vitamin D levels may help maintain the body’s defense against infection.
Months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, people still have immune cells in their body pumping out antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Such cells could persist for a lifetime, churning out antibodies all the while.
The findings, published May 24 in the journal Nature, suggest that mild cases of COVID-19 leave those infected with lasting antibody protection and that repeated bouts of illness are likely to be uncommon.
“Last fall, there were reports that antibodies wane quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived,” said senior author Ali Ellebedy, PhD, an associate professor of pathology & immunology, of medicine and of molecular microbiology. “But that’s a misinterpretation of the data. It’s normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don’t go down to zero; they plateau. Here, we found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people’s lives. That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity.”
Dr. Eduardo Sanchez is the American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention and a former state health commissioner of Texas. He has dealt with major public health crises – including the SARS outbreak. In this occasional series, he’ll break down various topics related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Recently I heard a medical “expert” on the news incorrectly define the term “herd immunity.” It’s a new phrase for many people, but we’re hearing about it more and more, so it’s important to understand exactly what it is.
First, let’s discuss how immunity works for individuals. A person can become immune (or resistant) after exposure to a disease-causing agent, such as the coronavirus causing COVID-19 in this case. The process of becoming immune includes the production of antibodies specific to the virus for future protection. Continue reading →
Higher Perspective says, “So the best time to eat a banana? When it’s fully ripe. But it’s worth noting, if you suffer Type 2 diabetes, you may want to eat a ripe banana with nut butter. The fat in the butter will slow down sugar absorption in your blood stream so it doesn’t hit you all at once.”