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COVID-19

Preexisting antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

B lymphocyte, which produces antibodies

NIAID

Antibodies against other varieties of coronavirus are in some cases capable of recognizing SARS-CoV-2 and providing some degree of protection to those who have not yet contracted the COVID-19 pathogen. Led by immunologist George Kassiotis of Imperial College London, researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed 302 blood samples taken before the pandemic began and just as the novel coronavirus started spreading worldwide. Almost all of the samples contained antibodies against the coronaviruses that cause common colds, which was expected, since most people have already been exposed to these viruses at some point in their lives. However, about 5% of adult participants not infected with SARS-CoV-2 had antibodies that also recognized the novel coronavirus. The same happened was true for more than 60% of uninfected participants aged 6–16, an age group that tends to produce more antibodies against seasonal coronaviruses (Science, November 6).

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