Scientists specify duration of immunity against Covid-19

People who have recovered from Covid-19 keep antibodies for at least eight months after their convalescence, according to the results of a new study devoted to the immune response to this disease, pre-published on the bioRxiv site.

Immunity to Covid-19 can last eight months or longer after first infection, say experts at La Jolla Institute of Immunology, California, in their study pre-published on the bioRxiv website.

The researchers took several blood samples from 185 people, aged 19 to 81, who had contracted Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic. They analyzed four components of the immune system: antibodies, B cells, which can make more antibodies when needed, and two types of T cells.

Antibodies have been shown to persist, showing a slight drop even six to eight months after infection. At the same time, the decay of T cells is very slow, while the number of B cells even increased.

The body capable of recognizing Covid-19 for years

B cells will maintain immune memory and allow the body to recognize the Covid-19 for several years, even when antibodies will no longer be detected in patients’ blood, the researchers say.

“This immune memory would probably allow to many people avoid hospitalization or become seriously ill for long years, ”said Shane Crotty, virologist at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology and one of the co-authors of the study cited by The New York Times .

This would be the first research to assess the immune response in such a comprehensive way. This study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, ties in with another recent finding: Survivors of SARS, caused by another coronavirus, still carry certain essential immune cells 17 years after recovery, says the New York Times.

Previously, immunologists in the United States and Canada had estimated that the organism produced specific antibodies for at least three months after infection with Covid-19.

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