Your immune system will 'remember' coronavirus infection for at least eight months, a study has found. People who have recovered from COVID-19 have immune memory to protect against reinfection for at least eight months. This might also indicate that coronavirus vaccines would continue to be effective for long periods, although, that is yet to be established.
Earlier research showed that antibodies wane after the first few months of infection. Hence, this research from scientists from Monash University in Australia is quite encouraging. The study published in the journal Science Immunology says that specific cells in the immune system called memory B cells 'remember' the infection. If exposed again, it will trigger a protective immune response through rapid production of antibodies.
The study was conducted on 25 coronavirus patients. Researchers took 36 blood samples from them from Day 4 after infection of Day 242 after infection.
While the researchers said that antibodies started to drop off after 20 days post infection, all patients had memory B cells that recognised one of the components of the virus -- the spike protein and the nucleocapsid proteins. Based on their analysis, the researchers said that memory B cells were stably present for as long as eight months after infection.
"These results are important because they show, definitively, that patients infected with the COVID-19 virus do in fact retain immunity against the virus and the disease," said study co-author Menno van Zelm, from the Monash University Department of Immunology and Pathology, further adding, "This has been a black cloud hanging over the potential protection that could be provided by any COVID-19 vaccine and gives real hope that, once a vaccine or vaccines are developed, they will provide long-term protection."
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