Newswise — It was unclear whether the SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 that has survived so far could trigger persistent immunological memory and thus protect against new infections. Several studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies are only detectable for months in many people who have survived COVID-19, so they can only provide temporary protection against reinfection. Researchers at the Medical Center-University of Freiburg, led by Dr. Maike Hofmann, Dr. Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, and Dr. Robert Thimme, can now show immune cells after recovering from SARS-CoV-2 infection. It remains in the body and is formed capable of mediating a rapid immune response upon reinfection. The Freiburg study was published in the online edition of the famous scientific journal. Natural medicine November 12, 2020.
“After SARS-CoV-2 infection, the so-called memory T cells look similar to the actual post flu memory T cells, so we are confident that the majority of people who survive SARS-CoV-2 infection will have some protection against reinfection. SARS -Uses CoV-2,” explains Dr. Hofmann, a scientist in the Department of Medicine II at the University of Freiburg Medical Center.
Professor Thimme, Medical Director of the Department of Medicine II, emphasizes the importance of a good intermediary research environment such as a medical center in the current situation. “To get strong research results in months, close networking between top-notch clinics and science is a fundamental requirement. On the one hand, COVID-19 patients are treated in our ward and continue to be in special outpatient clinics after the infection has been treated. On the other hand, our clinic has excellent expertise in the analysis of immune cells for viral infections such as hepatitis B and C.”
The Medical Center-University of Freiburg is not involved in the development of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. However, Dr. Dr., head of the Gerok Liver Center at Freiburg University Hospital. Neumann-Haefelin is optimistic. “Our results suggest that immunity to SARS-CoV-2 can be achieved after infection. Likewise, the vaccines currently being tested in trials could also provide significant protection against SARS-CoV-2.”
“Detoxification of complex immune responses has long been part of the research focus of the University and Medical Center-University of Freiburg. Thanks to the high scientific quality in the field, we can now make an important contribution to the corona epidemic,” Prof says. Dr. Norbert Südkamp, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg.
This translational study of viral infections is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the state Baden-Württemberg, two joint research centers of the “Clinical Scientists” program of various foundations. Hofmann is supported by the Margarete von Wrangell Habilitation Program for Women in Baden-Württemberg State.