This is the first study describing that CD8 T-cells, stimulated by a vaccine (and without the help of other immune cells and antibodies), offer protection against the virus that causes Covid-19. ‘However, we are not suggesting that antibodies are no longer needed,’ says Arens. ‘Despite focusing on antibodies, current vaccines also increase T-cells. You really need both to fight the virus, so combining vaccines could be a potentially good option.’
These findings are particularly interesting for individuals with a weakened immune system, such as patients who undergo transplants or who have reduced B cells (the factories that make antibodies). Researchers are also considering broader applications for the technology. Arens: ‘In general, I think booster vaccinations that elicit a strong CD8 T-cell response are a promising strategy to improve future vaccination programs.’ Now, Arens and colleagues are investigating the role of T-cells in current mRNA vaccines to find out whether the new vaccine would work in humans. To this end, they have initiated collaborations with a number of companies and hope to eventually bring a product to the market.
Source: Leiden University
Source: Healthcare in Europe