Science & Tech

Omicron developed techniques to avoid detection by T cells

The SARS-CoV-2 virus can avoid detection and death by CD8 T cells, which are critical in lowering viral load and clearing the infection by recognising and destroying infected cells.

What’s the latest?

  • According to a recent study, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has the ability to modify MHC I expression in host cells.
  • MHC I plays an important role in alerting the immune system to virally infected cells.
  • The virus has evolved numerous ways to block MHC I expression, which the influenza virus does not have.

What exactly is T Cell Immunity?

  • T cells, like B cells, create antibodies and play an important role in the immunological response to viral infection.
  • To fight against any type of invader, such as a virus, your immune system requires a type of white blood cell called a B cell, which produces antibodies, and a similar-looking white blood cell called a T cell.
  • T cells can play a variety of tasks.
  • They can function as “killer cells,” attacking infected cells with viruses or other pathogens, or as “helper cells,” assisting B cells in producing antibodies.

How do they work?

  • Along with antibodies, the immune system generates a swarm of T cells that can attack viruses.
  • Some of these, known as killer T cells (or CD8+T cells), seek out and destroy virus-infected cells.
  • Others, known as helper T cells (or CD4+T cells), are essential for immunological tasks such as encouraging the generation of antibodies and killer T cells.
  • T cells do not prevent infection since they only become active after a virus has entered the body. They are, nevertheless, necessary for clearing an infection that has already begun.
  • In the case of COVID-19, killer T cells may represent the difference between a minor infection and one that necessitates hospitalisation.
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