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People with T-cells — commonly found when someone has had the coronavirus or been vaccinated against it — carry “robust” protections against the omicron variant of the virus, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by a team of scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Melbourne, examined the immune response of T-cells gotten through either a coronavirus infection or vaccine to the omicron variant, The National Desk reported.

“T-cells, generated both by vaccination and COVID-19 infections, have been shown to be critical in limiting progression to severe disease by eliminating virus-related cells and helping with other immune systems functions,” the team said in a statement, The National Desk reported. “Preliminary studies have reported that omicron (fast becoming the most dominant circulating strain globally) can escape antibodies produced by vaccinations or natural COVID-19 infection, raising concerns about the increased possibility of reinfection and breakthrough cases.”

The study found that while T-cells responses don’t prevent infection from the omicron, its level of protection against severe disease is high.

University of Melbourne professor Matthew McKay, who co-led the research, said in the statement that “despite being a preliminary study,” the group of researchers viewed it as positive news, The National Desk reported.

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