Coronavirus: Immunity may be more widespread than tests suggest

People testing negative for coronavirus antibodies may still have some immunity, a study has suggested.
Some were blood donors while others were tracked down from the group of people first infected in Sweden, mainly returning from earlier affected areas like northern Italy. This could mean a wider group have some level of immunity to Covid-19 than antibody testing figures, like those published as part of the UK Office for National Statistics Infection Survey, suggest.Prof Danny Altmann at Imperial College London described the study as “robust, impressive and thorough” and said it added to a growing body of evidence that “antibody testing alone underestimates immunity”. More analysis needs to be done to understand whether these T-cells provide “sterilising immunity”, meaning they completely block the virus, or whether they might protect an individual from getting sick but not stop them from carrying the virus and transmitting it.Much of the discussion around Covid-19 immunity has focused on antibodies – Y-shaped proteins which act like “missiles shooting down a target”, assistant Prof Buggert explained.

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