As the omicron variant spreads across the United States and around the world, a new study is adding to the Biden administration’s messaging problems.
According to reports, researchers found that the immune system’s T-cells can likely fight off the latest COVID-19 variant, which could undermine the calls from some on the left for harsh restrictions meant to limit its spread.
Researchers share major discovery
Scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Melbourne conducted the study and published its findings in the medical journal Viruses, Fox News reports.
Specifically, the researchers looked at how the T-cells of individuals who have had either the virus or vaccination responded to the omicron variant’s proteins — or epitopes.
What they reportedly found was “T-cell immunity” that can be expected to hold up against infection with the easily transmissible variant.
“Overall, given that most of the experimental T-cell epitopes known to be targeted in vaccinated and/or previously infected individuals [collectively, accounting for (about) 60% of the global population as of 25 December 2021] are unaffected by omicron mutations, our preliminary analysis suggests that the effectiveness of preexisting T-cell immunity will remain intact,” the group wrote.
It is worth noting, however, that researchers warned this immune response does not “block infection” or “prevent transmission” of the virus.
“We believe this is positive news”
“Thus, while the number of infections may rise considerably as a consequence of omicron’s ability to evade antibodies, robust T-cell immunity provides hope that, similar to other [variants of concern], the level of protection against severe disease would remain high,” the report concluded.
University of Melbourne professor Matthew McKay offered an optimistic take on the study’s results, declaring: “We believe this is positive news.”
The recent study seems to support the assumption of many medical officials that the omicron variant generally leads to less severe infections compared to previous variants.
Furthermore, researchers found that only 20% of vaccinated or previously infected individuals showed signs of the variant.
While there is hope that the pandemic might finally be fizzling out, the rampant spread of omicron suggests that COVID-19 is likely to be a part of human life for some time to come.