Immune response against the virus

Immune response against the virus

With the arrival of the new coronavirus many new questions arise; who will be protected against the virus? How long will this response last? Can we characterize it? IrsiCaixa is evaluating the immune response in people who have undergone COVID-19 or have been vaccinated. Thus, researchers aim to characterize the different types of humoral and cellular immune response, and study which parts of the virus activate these responses.

This line of research will allow to monitor the protection against SARS-CoV-2, facilitating the control of the pandemic and the assessment of a possible revaccination. On the other hand, the study will be useful to understand the basic mechanisms used by the human body to fight the virus, but also to develop new vaccines or refine existing ones.

Humoral immunity (antibodies)

Antibodies are molecules that target pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, in a very specific way. When antibodies bind to the virus, they neutralize it, that is, they prevent it from entering cells, protecting the body from new infections. IrsiCaixa is monitoring the levels of neutralizing antibodies in patients who have undergone COVID-19 or who have been vaccinated, in order to determine how long they last and what differences there are in the immune response depending on the severity of the symptoms of the disease. The analysis of blood samples from these people also allows IrsiCaixa to monitor the efficiency of the antibodies in blocking new variants of the virus, such as the one described in England or South Africa, and future variants that may emerge.

Cellular immunity (T-lymphocytes)

The study of the immune response against SARS-CoV-2 has shown that cell-mediated immunity is key to achieving full protection against the virus and long-term immunological memory. This type of immunity is part of our body's first line of defense and focuses mainly on cells, such as T lymphocytes, which attack the virus before antibodies have been generated. IrsiCaixa wants to understand the mechanisms that follow this immune response in people who have undergone COVID-19 and have generated antibodies, but also in those who have not produced these molecules, since cellular immunity has been crucial in those cases. To carry out these studies, IrsiCaixa is developing new techniques to evaluate and detect the cellular response against the virus. All this information will be essential to optimize the design of vaccines against the new coronavirus and to understand the immunological situation at the population level.

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Irsi Caixa

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'La Caixa' Foundation Generalitat de Catalunya - Departament de Salut

 

HR Excellence in Research

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