Natural defenses provided by the common cold may give some level of protection against COVID-19, according to new research.
“The small-scale study, published in Nature Communications, involved 52 individuals who lived with someone who had just caught COVID-19,” the BBC reported. Based on the research, those who had developed a so-called “memory bank” of certain immune cells following a common cold infection appeared to be less likely to contract COVID-19.
“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 BBC added.
The University of Reading’s Dr. Simon Clarke said that this small study could improve researchers’ understanding of immune system response, as well as adding to the development of future vaccines.
“These data should not be over-interpreted. It seems unlikely that everyone who has died or had a more serious infection, has never had a cold caused by a coronavirus,” Dr. Clarke said. “And it could be a grave mistake to think that anyone who has recently had a cold is protected against COVID-19, as coronaviruses only account for 10-15% of colds.”
This news follows multiple claims that the latest SARS-CoV-2 variant — Omicron — could also be a turning point when it comes to the ongoing pandemic.
As The Daily Wire reported, amid a growing body of evidence that the new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 appears to be milder than the Delta strain, one scientist in the United Kingdom went so far as to call Omicron “a ray of light” in the two-year battle against the pandemic.
“The thing that might happen in the future is you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe, and ultimately, in the long term, what happens is Covid becomes endemic and you have a less severe version. It’s very similar to the common cold that we’ve lived with for many years,” Dr. Mike Tildesley told Times Radio on Saturday, according to The Economic Times.
“We’re not quite there yet, but possibly Omicron is the first ray of light there that suggests that may happen in the longer term. It is, of course, much more transmissible than Delta was, which is concerning, but much less severe,” said Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling and a University of Warwick professor.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the morphing situation caused by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant makes vaccine mandates “obsolete.”
“Because some of Omicron’s 50 mutations are known to evade antibody protection, because more than 30 of those mutations are to the spike protein used as an immunogen by the existing vaccines, and because there have been mass Omicron outbreaks in heavily vaccinated populations, scientists are highly uncertain the existing vaccines can stop it from spreading,” the Journal stated. “As the CDC put it on Dec. 20, ‘we don’t yet know … how well available vaccines and medications work against it.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.