Researchers from Australia have revealed that people infected with COVID-19 have immune memory to protect against reinfection for at least 8 months. This research is one of the strongest evidence for the likelihood that vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 will work for long periods.
The study was a result of a multi-center collaboration of the Monash University Department of Immunology and Pathology, with the Alfred Research Alliance. The study revealed that specific cells within the immune system known as the memory B-cells remember the infection by the virus, and if challenged again, through re-exposure to the virus, triggers a protective immune response through rapid production of protective antibodies.
The study included 25 COVID-19 patients and 36 blood samples were taken from day 4 post-infection to day 242 post-infection. In line with the other studies, the researchers found that antibodies against the virus started to wear off after 20 days post-infection. However, all patients continued to have memory B-cells that recognized one of two components of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the spike and nucleocapsid proteins. The virus-specific B-cells were stably present as far as eight months after the infection.
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