- Your immune system’s ‘memory’ T cells keep track of the viruses they have seen before.
- New study led by scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) shows that memory helper T cells that recognize common cold coronaviruses also recognize matching sites on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Having a strong T cell response, or a better T cell response may give you the opportunity to mount a much quicker and stronger response.
- 40%-60% of people never exposed to SARS-CoV-2 had T cells that reacted to the virus showing that their immune systems recognized the virus.
- This finding turned out to be a global phenomenon and was reported in people from the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
- This discovery suggests that fighting off a common cold coronavirus can induce cross-reactive T cell memory against SARS-CoV-2.
The study, published in JAMA, found that surgical masks were as effective as N95 respirators at preventing the flu, which is to say, not all that effective because, of the 446 nurses who took part in this study, nearly one in four (24%) in the surgical mask group still got the flu as did 23% of those who wore the N95 respirator. And, because both groups wore masks, it’s impossible to say how they would have fared compared with not wearing a mask at all.
Basically, there is no strong evidence to support well people wearing surgical masks in public. Or as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put it: “No recommendation can be made at this time for mask use in the community by asymptomatic persons, including those at high risk for complications, to prevent exposure to influenza viruses.”
The best thing you can do to stop getting the flu is to regularly wash your hands, and try to avoid touching your face.