Depending on the type of flu you have had so far, this can affect the way your immune system responds to a coronavirus infection.
So-called ancillary T helper cells are significantly involved in the immune defense process in the event of an infection. Anyone who has had flu in the past may already have it.
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and CharitéBerlin have identified the role that the presence of T helper cells plays in a coronavirus infection.
Healthy people have reactive T helper cells
The researchers isolated immune cells from the blood of 68 healthy people who had not been exposed to the new coronavirus. In addition, they took blood from 18 Covid-19 patients and analyzed it for T helper cells and their reaction.
To her surprise, reactive T helper cells were found not only in the blood of the infected, but also in the blood of the healthy. “This indicates that the healthy T-helper cells react to SARS-CoV-2 because they had to deal with local cold coronaviruses in the past,” says Dr. Giesecke-Thiel. “Because one property of the T helper cells is that they can be activated not only by an exactly ‘suitable’ pathogen, but also by ‘sufficiently similar’ intruders.”