Why do some people not get COVID-19 despite exposure? Scientists are trying to solve the riddle
Why do some people not get COVID-19 despite exposure?  Scientists are trying to solve the riddle

Why do some people not get COVID-19 despite exposure? Scientists are trying to solve the riddle

When Vanessa Bryant recently managed to dodge COVID-19 despite the fact that the rest of her young family became infected, she felt lucky – but not entirely surprised.

“As an immunologist, I know there’s a bit of luck with that,” said Dr. Bryant, who heads the Immunogenetics Research Laboratory at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne.

“We joke that I’m invincible, but of course that’s not true at all.”

Dr. Bryant’s family isolated themselves and took precautions, but they all ended up with COVID-19 – except her.(Delivered: WEHI)

Dr. Bryant had been boosted just 10 weeks earlier and her family took precautions against getting the virus.

But her experience is not uncommon, even among people who are much less protected – even unvaccinated.

Researchers, including Dr. Bryant, would like to know why.

Dr. Bryant is part of an Australian research team examines how COVID-19 spreads in householdsand why some people – like herself – do not test positive at all.

“We can get a lot of knowledge from the people who are genetically and immunologically resistant,” she said.

“It will, of course, have implications for the understanding of the critical components needed for COVID-19 protection.

“It will also really identify the essential therapeutic goals for [the treatment of] other people.”

COVID-19 immunity is affected by several factors

In the beginning of the pandemic, the researchers focused intensely on to understand what makes people more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 – which we have since experienced includes factors such as old age, underlying health conditions and obesity.

These days, an increasing amount of research is devoted to the other side of the coin: why do some people never seem to get sick?

“Everyone’s immune system is a little different,” said Dr. Bryant.

“Some people may generate an immune response that just produces better antibodies … and we think it’s largely genetic.”

Two scientists are investigating something in the laboratory.
Dr. Bryant studies the transmissibility of COVID-19 among household contacts to better understand the virus and how we respond to it.(Delivered: WEHI)

Vaccination is of course an essential tool in our armor against COVID-19 and the safest way to protect yourself from becoming uncomfortable.

“If you have recently completed your vaccination and received a boost, you will have the highest immunological protection,” said Dr. Bryant.

“It’s when you have lots of circulating protective antibodies … that can really dry up and neutralize the virus before it has a chance to infect cells at all.”

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