Natural defences against a common cold could offer some protection against Covid-19, too, research suggests. The small-scale study, published in Nature Communications, involved 52 individuals who lived with someone who had just caught Covid-19.
Those who had developed a “memory bank” of specific immune cells after a cold – to help prevent future attacks – appeared less likely to get Covid.
Experts say no-one should rely on this defence alone, and vaccines remain key. But they believe their findings could provide useful insight into how a body’s defence system fights the virus. Covid-19 is caused by a type of coronavirus, and some colds are caused by other coronaviruses – so scientists have wondered whether immunity against one might help with the other.
But the experts caution that it would be a “grave mistake” to think that anyone who had recently had a cold was automatically protected against Covid-19 – as not all are caused by coronaviruses.
The Imperial College London team wanted to understand better why some people catch Covid after being exposed to the virus and others do not.