How long does immunity to the coronavirus last? Previously it was assumed that you can become infected again as soon as the antibodies are no longer detectable. But a new study from La Jolla, California (USA) gives hope: The immunity lasts for years – maybe even decades.
According to the New York Times, eight months after infection, most people have enough immune cells to fight off the virus – and to prevent another disease. So the body not only has corona antibodies, which often decrease after a few months or weeks, but also a weapon against the virus.
Memory cells inspire hope
The latest data from the US-Studie show that despite no longer detectable antibodies, important so-called memory cells remain in the body. Memory immune cells that continue to prevent re-infection. This was the result of an analysis of data from 185 recovered persons, which researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology have obtained.
“This amount of memory cells would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting seriously ill again for many years,” said Shane Crotty, virologist and co-director of the study, to the New York Times.
Immune system remembers Corona – and switches it off
Corona antibodies are therefore not absolutely necessary so that the body can react in the event of a reinfection. Rather, it needs immune cells that “remember” the virus. These can then prevent re-infection. The immune system recognizes the intruder who is already known – and wipes them out.
“It can be stopped quickly enough so that people not only have no symptoms, but are also not infectious,” said Alessandro Sette, another co-leader of the study.
Good news for vaccine
This is also good news for that Vaccine effectiveness. It should reassure experts around the world that the duration of immunity is also crucial for the medium and long-term effect of the vaccination. It can mean that you don’t have to be vaccinated again and again, which has been assumed in the meantime. (euc)