A letter signed by more than 60 biotech and academic leaders was sent last month to the FDA urging the inclusion of a recommendation for T-cell assessment in Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials, with the aim of comprehensively measuring immune response more effectively.
The suggested research into T-cells would look more closely at evidence from studies into the vaccine response in humans that shows while antibodies protect and provide a barrier from virus getting in, T-cells can protect from progression to severe disease.
While antibodies are easy to measure, the letter outlines that the measurement of T-cell responses alongside them, can help better determine and evaluate the efficacy of vaccines and thus aid decisions regarding protection against Covid-19 both now and in the future.
The letter notes that there is a limited study on T-cells in SARS-CoV-2 research that's slowing further research and policy information on emerging variants and long-term protection against them.
It states that “Examining the T-cell response has applications for clinical diagnosis and management, evaluation of protective immunity and vaccine assessment.”
There is still so much more to learn about COVID-19, as proven by the emergence of the Omicron variant. Looking more closely into the T-cell response, while more labour intensive, could, in future, inform public and personal health decisions about how people are protected against the disease, at both public and personal levels.
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