COVID-19: Prior coronavirus infection 'offers protection for at least six months'

Study: Coronavirus immunity can last up to 8 months

Earlier in the week, a study conducted by Public Health England looked at T-cells - another element of our immune systems' response to infection.

The results were "consistent with Sars-CoV-2 re-exposure that did not lead to repeat symptoms", the study said.

"We will continue to follow this cohort of staff carefully to see how long protection lasts and whether previous infection affects the severity of infection if people do get infected again", Eyre said. It comes after a much larger study by Imperial College found that antibodies declined by about 25 per cent three months after infection.

Because TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma are produced during Covid-19 and cause inflammatory cell death, the investigators questioned whether these cytokines were responsible for the clinical manifestations and deadly effects of the disease. The researchers said there appeared to be an increase in memory B cells over time. "T cell memory might reach a more stable plateau, or slower decay phase, later than the first 6 months post-infection", the study states.

The findings should offer some reassurance for the more than 51 million people worldwide who have been infected with the pandemic disease, researchers at the University of Oxford said. The study, published November 19 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), also suggests that in addition to blocking SARS-CoV-2's entry into cells, the antibodies may combat the virus by enlisting various types of white blood cells to fight the infection.


In a statement to United Kingdom based Science Media Centre, Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said that there are two major consequences if the findings are as they say.

If the same is true with Covid, then a second infection would be milder than the first. "This means that the population level of immunity may be rising which will eventually lead to reduced transmission", Evan said adding that this, coupled with immunity being conferred by vaccination, offers prospects of transmission of the virus being markedly reduced over the next year or so.

It is also good news for immunisation programmes, because if the body can provoke a long-term immune response naturally, it should also do so when triggered by a vaccine.

Previously it was feared antibodies wane after just a couple of months but a number of recent studies have shown both T-cells and antibodies last for at least six months, meaning those who have recovered from an infection are protected for at least that amount of time.

Pairs of antibodies may be more effective than single antibodies at preventing and treating COVID-19, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The Rockefeller University in NY.

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