Given That Corona Viruses Can Cause The Common Cold, Does That Mean Humans Likely Have Some Protection Against This New Virus? Or Are We Immunological “Naive”?
Although it’s possible we could have pre-existing immunity if we were previously infected with “common cold” corona viruses, there is no evidence that this is protective in people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
Unless I see data otherwise, I’d assume that most of us are immunological “naive.” However, although we don’t know if it’s relevant to COVID-19 epidemiology, it has been shown that antibodies against SARS-CoV can block infection of cells with SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, so there is the possibility of protective cross-reactive immunity from closely related corona viruses.
Angela Rasmussen, PhD is a virologist on the faculty at the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. She specializes in using systems biology approaches to study how a host responds to a virus infection and how this response contributes to disease severity and clinical outcome.