Natural immunity to COVID-19 may be long-lasting | Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Natural immunity to COVID-19 may be long-lasting | Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

What is the purpose of the study?

Scientists have worried if immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which produces COVID-19, is long-lasting; this, for example, could alter the efficacy of vaccines. Nevertheless, since antibodies are only one portion of the immune response to infections, evidence demonstrating that antibodies may not be long-lasting is only half of the tale.

What did the researchers come up with?

In this pre-print, scientists looked at immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in 185 people with COVID-19, 41 of whom were more than six months past the initial infection. The majority of the patients evaluated had minor symptoms and did not need to be hospitalized. The researchers looked at four aspects of the immune response: antibody levels, memory B cells (which remember the pathogen and activate a rapid antibody response when exposed to it again), and T cells (CD4 and CD8, which can aid B cells or kill infected cells, respectively).

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What did they discover?

The researchers discovered that those who have COVID-19 had immune responses that were both powerful and long-lasting. They discovered that antibodies remained for a long time, with just a minor reduction in levels 6-8 months after infection. They also discovered that T cells decreased little while B cells grew, which they couldn’t explain. While the mechanisms of immunity following COVID-19 infection have not been precisely explained, the authors emphasize that these findings are not convincing proof of long-lasting protective immunity after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

What exactly does this imply?

According to the findings, SARS-CoV-2 infection-induced immunity may continue longer than previously assumed. Long-lasting antibody levels and immunological memory cells, according to the researchers, could potentially reduce the severity of a re-infection.