COVID-19: Discovery of a new "super cell"

14/05/2020

An important step forward has been made in the fight against the coronavirus. Researchers from the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research (IRC) have recently discovered a new type of cell in the immune system.

When the body is confronted with an infection, it reacts by creating inflammation and fever, which indicate that the immune system is working properly and that the various defence cells are being activated. The researchers have now discovered a new type of cell amongst those defence cells that specifically explains how the plasma from a healed patient that contains antibodies specific to COVID-19 contributes to the stimulation of this "super cell", as well as to the immune responses seen in patients infected with the virus. A study is currently being conducted on the transfer of this plasma.

In the future, this discovery could actually lead to the development of treatments that make full use of this new "super cell", such as vaccines or medication.

This advance in our knowledge of the immune system is particularly interesting in the fight against respiratory infections, and is directly relevant to the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic.