September 25, 2022

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Can natural killer cells-NK cells also fight against COVID-19?

Can natural killer cells-NK cells also fight against COVID-19?


Can natural killer cells-NK cells also fight against COVID-19?


Recently, it is reported that scientists have made great progress in the research of cells in the fight against the new coronavirus.

An international team of scientists led by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that NK cells respond to a certain peptide on the surface of infected cells.

This also resolves previous scientists’ confusion about how the immune system’s natural killer (NK) cells detect which cells have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, and has become an important discovery to help understand how the immune system responds to COVID-19 (cited in Cell Reports (2022). DOI: 10.1016



Can natural killer cells-NK cells also fight against COVID-19?


How are NK cells used in the fight against the new coronavirus?

It is understood that the treatment method of NK cells has been used in the research of cancer treatment and has been quite effective. When scientists realized that NK cells can be used to fight the new coronavirus by acting on the immune system and performing natural killing, research on NK cells has expanded to the field of fighting the new coronavirus.


“Our study shows that SARS-CoV-2 contains a peptide displayed by cell surface molecules,” says Quirin Hammer, a researcher at the Center for Infectious Diseases Medicine (CIM) at Karolinska Institutet, referring to the role of NK cells. “Activation of NK cells is a complex response, and the peptide here blocks the inhibition of NK cells, allowing them to be activated.”


The study is a major collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and research laboratories and universities in Italy, Germany, Norway and the United States.

The study found that infected cells contained peptides from the virus, and NK cells carried a specific receptor, NKG2A, that was able to detect this peptide and stimulated NK cell responses.

The first stage was to use computer simulations to test their hypotheses, which were then confirmed in the lab.




What are the uses of NK cells that are highly expected?


NK cells are an important cell in the immune system, and they are natural killers of tumors and viruses. English name: Natural killer cell, referred to as NK cell. 

NK cells are derived from bone marrow lymphoid stem cells.

Their differentiation and development depend on the bone marrow and thymus microenvironment.

They are mainly distributed in bone marrow, peripheral blood, liver, spleen, lung and lymph nodes. They can produce pro-inflammatory cytokines and kill virus-infected cells. cells or cancer cells.

NK cells play an important role in modern immunology and human health.

The immune cell therapy developed with NK cells as the core is expected to become the top core technology of “prevention before disease, cancer prevention and anticancer”.


Scientists are confident that NK cells will be able to intervene in the fight against the new coronavirus and produce results in the future. This also stems from the fact that NK cells acting on the immune system play a key role in many fields of clinical medical research.


Can natural killer cells-NK cells also fight against COVID-19?



NK cells are the body’s immune cells and are part of the body’s innate immune system. Unlike cells in adaptive immune defense, they are able to instantly recognize and kill cancer cells and virus-infected cells.

This ability is controlled by a balance mechanism between activating and inhibitory receptors of NK cells, which can respond to different molecules on the surface of other cells.


The role of NK cells in antiviral immunity has been verified, including hepatitis C virus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), hepatitis B virus, influenza A virus, etc.



Can natural killer cells-NK cells also fight against COVID-19?

NK cells have a more obvious role in clinical anti-cancer: in cancer research, most of the exosomes released by cancer cells are explored.

Natural killer (NK) cells have a rapid immune effect against metastatic or hematological malignancies, and antitumor properties of NK cells have been developed clinically.






(source:internet, reference only)

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