Press Releases in Hong Kong

HKUST, Aussie uni find T cells effective in tackling Omicron

This undated picture shows a library in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – A research done by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the University of Melbourne has revealed that T cells, one of the body's key defenses against COVID-19, are expected to be effective in mounting an immune response against Omicron, the HKUST announced on Monday.

Published on Sunday in scientific journal Viruses, the team analyzed over 1,500 fragments of SARS-CoV-2's viral proteins, called epitopes, that have been found to be recognized by T cells in recovered COVID-19 patients or after vaccination. The team's findings suggested that Omicron is unlikely to be able to evade T cells.

Even if Omicron, or some other variant for that matter, can potentially escape antibodies, a robust T cell response can still be expected to offer protection and help to prevent significant illness, according to the research team.

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The team anticipated that T cell responses elicited by vaccines and boosters will continue to help protect people against Omicron and other variants.