October 20, 2023

Total body PET scans show body’s immune response to COVID-19

Editor's Note

Scientists from UC Davis used dynamic total-body positron emission tomography (PET) to show the body's immune response to COVID-19 in recovering patients, Science Advances October 12 reports. The research article, titled "First-in-human immunoPET imaging of COVID-19 convalescent patients using dynamic total-body PET and a CD8-targeted minibody," was published by Science.

The total-body PET scanner used in the study was developed at UC Davis in collaboration with United Imaging Healthcare. According to the research, the scanner allows for simultaneous dynamic imaging and kinetic modeling in all organs and has much higher sensitivity than conventional PET systems, leading to better image quality. 

Using this method, scientists were able to show measurements of immune cell distribution and movement happening inside the tissues. The most significant finding was increased concentrations of CD8+ T cells in the bone marrow of recovering COVID-19 patients compared to the healthy controls.

The researchers say the findings can help them better understand how the immune system responds to viral infections and develops long-term protection against re-infection.


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