Antibodies developed after catching and recovering from the common cold may help prevent COVID-19 infection in some people, a new study has suggested.
Antibodies to the six coronaviruses that cause common colds cannot ‘neutralise’ the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but antibodies to two of them may help the body fend off severe illness from the new virus, the small preliminary study suggested.
The study, published on Tuesday in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, said German researchers studied 60 patients with COVID-19, including 25 who were hospitalised but not critically ill, 19 who required intensive care unit admission, and 25 who did not get sick enough to be hospitalised.
Findings revealed that patient who needed intensive care all had significantly lower levels of antibodies to two seasonal coronaviruses, HCoV OC43 and HCoV HKU1, which are more closely related to the COVID-19 virus compared to the other human coronaviruses.
The researchers said while the observation does not prove these antibodies are responsible, “it is remarkable that the effect of HCoV OC43 and HKU1-specific antibody levels reached statistical significance regarding the need for intensive care therapy”
They said, “Further studies should validate this finding and explore the potential to identify persons at risk for severe disease course before a SARS-CoV-2 infection”.
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