Immune System Biology
Immune System Biology
In a world full of dangers, from bacterial infections to cancer, our immune system is our fortress. We study the immune system to boost our ability to fight off numerous diseases.

How targeting killer T cells in the lungs could lead to immunity against respiratory viruses

Salk Professor Susan Kaech examined the immune cells in the lungs, a significant site of damage during the COVID-19 infection. When we are first exposed to bacteria or viruses, immune cells called killer T cells destroy the infected cells to prevent the spread of the disease. Killer T cells effectively provide long-term protective immunity against the invader, a fundamental concept behind vaccination. Kaech’s team, including first author and then-graduate student Jun Siong Low, found that the cells responsible for long-term immunity in the lungs can be activated more easily than previously thought. The insight could aid in the development of universal vaccines for influenza and the novel coronavirus.

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