The Coronavirus Is New, but Your Immune System Might Still Recognize It

www.nytimes.com
2 min read
fairly difficult
Some people carry immune cells called T cells that can capitalize on the virus's resemblance to other members of its family tree.
"If you have a population of T cells that are armed and ready to protect you, you could control the infection better than someone who doesn't have those cross-reactive cells," said Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington who is studying the immune responses of Covid-19 patients. "That's what we're all hoping for."

T cells are an exceptionally picky bunch. Each spends the entirety of its life waiting for a very specific trigger, like a hunk of a dangerous virus. Once that switch is flipped, the T cell will clone itself into an army of specialized soldiers, all with their sights set on the same target. Some T cells are microscopic assassins, tailor-made to home…
Katherine J. Wu
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