Covid-19 immunity may last months, even years, claims new study
The body’s immune response to the novel coronavirus can last for at least eight months after the onset of symptoms from the initial infection, a new study has suggested.
While a previous study in July 2020 by King's College, London, had suggested that recovered Covid-19 patients are likely to remain susceptible to re-infection, the new study, published in the journal Science, suggests that nearly all Covid-19 survivors have the immune cells necessary to fight re-infection.
The latest study by researchers from La Jolla Institute of Immunology (LJI) in California is based on analyses of blood samples from 188 patients. “Our data suggest that the immune response is there—and it stays,” Alessandro Sette of LJI, who co-led the study with Shane Crotty and Daniela Weiskopf, said in a statement issued by LJI.
“We measured antibodies, memory B cells, helper T cells and killer T cells all at the same time. As far as we know, this is the largest study ever, for any acute infection, that has measured all four of those components of immune memory,” LJI quoted Crotty as saying.
The findings could mean that Covid-19 survivors have protective immunity against serious disease from the SARS-CoV-2 virus for months, perhaps years, after infection, the researchers said. Their study addresses concerns arising out of Covid-19 data from other labs, which showed a dramatic drop-off of Covid-specific antibodies over time.
As the researchers said, a decline in antibodies is very normal. “That’s what immune responses do. They have a first phase of ramping up, and after that fantastic expansion, eventually the immune response contracts somewhat and gets to a steady state,” Sette was quoted as saying.