United States – For individuals who were infected by COVID-19, they may have built some immunity against some specific strains of the common cold.

Potential for Improved Vaccines

This is because new research found that previous COVID infections reduce the probability of being infected by colds caused by siblings coronavirus strains, suggesting that wider COVID vaccines could be the answer, as reported by Associated Press.

“We think there’s going to be a future outbreak of a coronavirus,” said Dr. Manish Sagar, senior author of the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. “Vaccines potentially could be improved if we could replicate some of the immune responses that are provided by natural infection.”

Study Details and Findings

The study analyzed PCR tests that were taken from over 4,900 participants who presented to the healthcare facilities from November 2020 to October 2021. Speaking about the limitations of the study and how they dealt with factors such as age, gender, and the presence of other illnesses, Sagar said he and his fellow researchers determined that individuals who previously contracted COVID had roughly a 50% lower risk of experiencing a symptomatic coronavirus-related common cold than individuals who were fully vaccinated at the time but never got COVID.

Several viruses lead to the common cold; coronaviruses have been estimated to be a causative factor of five percent of colds.

Scientists associated the shield against COVID-caused colds with virus-destroying cell reactions for the two proteins of the coronaviruses. These proteins are not employed in many existing vaccines, but scientists have suggested that they should be incorporated later.

“Our studies would suggest that these may be novel strategies for better vaccines that not only tackle the current coronaviruses, but any potential future one that may emerge,” said Sagar of Boston Medical Center.

Expert Commentary

Dr. Wesley Long of Methodist Pathology Associates at Houston Methodist in Texas, who had no direct involvement in the study, hastened to add that established vaccines “use the spike” protein present on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus and thus, the new information should not be read as a criticism of the present vaccines, as reported by Associated Press.

But he added: “If we can find targets that cross-protect among multiple viruses, we can either add those to specific vaccines or start to use those as vaccine targets that would give us broader-based immunity from a single vaccination. And that would be really cool.”

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