Getting infected with COVID-19 may have a sliver of a silver lining: COVID may assist in protecting against the common flu, researchers have indicated. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 belongs to a large and diverse family of coronaviruses, which includes common cold viruses. [tweet_embed] May 16, 2022[/tweet_embed] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes: "Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives. This information applies to common human coronaviruses and should not be confused with coronavirus disease 2019 (formerly referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus)." Common human coronaviruses usually spread from an infected person to others vua airborne by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, like touching or shaking hands touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands, according to the CDC. Due to the fact that viruses in this family have relatively similar spike proteins, immune system antibodies against one coronavirus spike protein could potentially also recognize similar spike proteins in other coronaviruses. This suggests that previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 could help protect against other such coronaviruses, including those that render colds, according to scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Periodically, respiratory secretions are tested to figure out which specific germ is causing your symptoms. Different tests determine if you are infected with 2019 novel coronavirus. Your healthcare provider can determine if you should be tested. [tweet_embed] May 16, 2022[/tweet_embed] To find out if the hypothesis renders true, they sampled blood from 11 people to look for serum antibodies — proteins that help fight off infection. Eight of the samples were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic, while three were from people who recently had COVID. "The end goal of this would be to rationally design vaccines that can recognize many different coronaviruses," stated study co-author Sandhya Bangaru, a postdoctoral research associate. The researchers tested how the samples reacted to isolated spike proteins from different coronaviruses: OC43 and HKU1, both associated with common colds; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV-1, which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); and MERS-CoV, which causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Exclusively, serum antibodies from COVID-19 patients reacted to the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins, and they also reacted more strongly than pre-pandemic samples of antibodies to the spike proteins of the common cold viruses and the other coronaviruses, according to the study. The results were published online in the journal Science Advances. "Most people have this baseline immunity to common coronaviruses, and exposure to SARS-CoV-2 increases the levels of these antibodies," Bangaru said in an institute news release. [tweet_embed] May 16, 2022[/tweet_embed] Study co-author Andrew Ward, a professor of integrative structural and computational biology, suggested this study could help lead to better vaccines. "Getting a better understanding of how immunity against this broad family of coronaviruses changes with COVID-19 infection is an important step toward developing better coronavirus vaccines, both for COVID-19 and for future, related pathogens," Ward asserted in the release.