The coronavirus pandemic has brought up many questions when it comes to our health. Should I get the vaccine? Which one is right for me? And if I’ve actually had COVID-19, will I get it again or do I have immunity that lasts?
Well, a brand new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has answered the last one.
And it’s good news for those of us who have suffered a mild infection from Covid and recovered.
Immunity that could last a lifetime
According to the senior author of the study, there’s been confusion about the protection having had Covid provides in the future.
Ali Ellebedy, Ph.D. is an associate professor of pathology, immunology, medicine and molecular microbiology. A hefty list of accomplishments, right?
“Last fall, there were reports that antibodies wane quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived,” said Dr. Ellebedy,
“But that’s a misinterpretation of the data. It’s normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don’t go down to zero; they plateau.”
From there, a small population of antibody-producing cells, called long-lived plasma cells, migrate to the bone marrow and settle in. Then they do the job of continually secreting low levels of antibodies into the bloodstream to help guard against a future attack by the virus.
And that’s exactly what the researchers found in a study of 77 people who had recovered from a mild case of COVID-19.
In fact, the team found that people who had lived through Covid still had antibody-producing cells 11 months after their first symptoms.
And according to the researchers, the long-lived plasma cells found in survivors’ bone marrow live and produce antibodies for the rest of their lives.
That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity!
New studies in asymptomatic and severe infections
The researchers say that they even think that people who were infected and never had symptoms could benefit from that long-lasting immunity. But they still need to determine what your protection level is if you’ve had a severe case of the disease.
This seems strange. But they say it could go either way since inflammation is a major factor in severe Covid and can cause a defective immune response.
So only time and additional studies will give us the answer to that question, as well as answer whether or not vaccines are capable of conferring the same long-lasting immunity as a bout with the virus.
But for now, if you’re one of the almost 81 percent of Covid cases classified as mild, it looks like it’s finally time to relax. That long-lasting and possibly even lifetime immunity is yours! And that’s a fact that definitely spells relief and protection from reinfection you can count on.
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Coronavirus: 81% of cases are ‘mild,’ study says — MedicalNewsToday