Antonio Bertoletti, a professor at the Emerging Infectious Diseases programme, Duke-NUS Medical School.Bertoletti is an expert in viral infections, particularly hepatitis B.As part of the research, Bertoletti’s team studied T cell responses against the structural protein) and non-structural regions of SARS-CoV-2 in individuals convalescing from coronavirus disease 2019.In a 2011 article published in the Journal of Virology , Bertoletti led a team that generated TCR-T cells that can go after SARS, another coronavirus that caused a deadly outbreak in China and other countries in late 2002 and early 2003.The human hepatoma cell line HepG2-core, stably transduced with HBcAg, was provided by Dr. Bertoletti.
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Much of the study on the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has focused on the production of antibodies. But, in fact, immune cells known as memory T cells also play an important role in the ability of our immune systems to protect us against many viral infections, including—it now appears—COVID-19. An intriguing new study of these memory T cells suggests they might protect some people newly infected with SARS-CoV-2 by remembering past encounters with other human coronaviruses.
Back in January before the widespread of the coronavirus pandemic, we wrote a piece about how researchers at Cardiff University may have found a cure for cancer after the team of researchers accidentally discovered immune cell that kills most cancers. For months, much of the study on the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has focused on the production of antibodies. Now, researchers are conducting an extensive study on a different type of immune cells known as memory T cells.
CAR-T and TCR-T therapies that involve engineering a patient’s own immune cells with antigen-specific receptors have revolutionized blood cancer treatment. The team showed that those TCR-redirected T cells displayed a functional profile similar to that of SARS-specific memory CD8 T cells from people who recovered from SARS-CoV infection. In the lab, the cell therapy eliminated up to 99% of immune cells infected with different strains of HIV.