By Tony Winterburn • 17 March 2020 • 10:27
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Researchers at Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection have for the first time successfully mapped the immune system’s response to COVID-19 from one of Australia’s first coronavirus patients.
In their findings, published on Tuesday in Nature Medicine, the researchers said they successfully tested blood samples of an otherwise healthy woman in her mid-40s who required hospital admission.
The immune responses from one of Australia’s first coronavirus patients have been mapped, which researchers say is the first step towards finding a vaccine.
Researchers at Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection tested at four different points in time the blood samples of an otherwise healthy woman who was diagnosed with coronavirus.
They were able to record how her immune system responded to COVID-19, and how it was able to overcome the virus.
Laboratory Head Professor Katherine Kedzierska told SBS News the patient’s immune response was similar to that of a patient with influenza.
“When we were analysing the immune responses, we saw really textbook images of several different immune cell types emerging in the patient’s blood,” she said.
“Even though COVID-19 is caused by a new virus, in an otherwise healthy person, we can generate a robust immune response across different cell types.”
“This is an important step forward in understanding what drives recovery.”
“Now we can do research on understanding what’s lacking, or what’s different in patients that have fatal disease outcomes.”
And it’s too early to tell if patients who’ve had the Coronavirus are immune from future infections.
“We need to understand whether those immune responses can proceed into immunological memory [and whether] we still got those cells that can protect us against reinfection…with the same virus.” The findings were published on Tuesday in a medical journal called Nature Medicine.
Coronavirus symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia, according to the Federal Government’s website, and can include a fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.
There are now more than 375 coronavirus cases across Australia.
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