by Freddie Sayers
Friday, 10
July 2020

T-cell immunity and the truth about Covid-19 in Sweden

by Freddie Sayers

We hear a lot about Sweden’s experience of Covid-19, with the New York Times declaring this week that that country is now “the world’s cautionary tale.”

But what’s it really like on the ground?

Dr Soo Aleman has been both on the front lines of the Covid-19 epidemic as a senior physician at Stockholm’s leading Karolinska hospital, and on the research side, as Assistant Professor at the Karolinska Institute and one of a group that last week published new data around T-cell immunity.

I talked to her about the findings of that study, and how it matches what she is seeing in her hospital. Have a watch above.

Key quotes:

  • “Intensive care units are getting empty, the wards are getting empty, we are really seeing a decrease — and that despite that people are really loosening up. The beaches are crowded, social distancing is not kept very well … but still the numbers are really decreasing. That means that something else is happening – we are actually getting closer to herd immunity. I can’t really see another reason.”
  • “I can’t say if the Swedish approach was right or wrong – I think we can say that in one or two years when we are looking back. You have to look at the mortality over the whole period.”
  • “I don’t think that we have more new cases, I think we are just detecting more cases”
  • “We found that if you have a mild case you can be negative for antibodies afterwards … in those almost all of them had strong T-cell activity. This study says that there are cases that you can have a strong T-cell response even though you have not had antibodies, meaning that you have encountered the virus and built up immunity.”



Join the discussion

  • August 7, 2020
    it is NOT true what you say about “very large spikes” in hospital admissions in California (for any reason including Covid-19). what is the source of your information? Read more

  • P B
    August 6, 2020
    How does your alleged factor (movement across the US border) in any way contradict the view that poor adherence to social distancing has led to an increase in infection rates in SoCal? If these individuals crossing borders are (as you seem to be suggesting) in fact the cause of the significant... Read more

  • July 21, 2020
    The blame game is rampant in the US. Outbreaks are commonly attributed primarily to poor adherence to social distancing rules and the lack of consistent use of face masks. This type of political posturing curtails a deeper analysis of other potential causes of an outbreak. For example, southern... Read more

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