How long can immunity last after a COVID-19 infection?

When people recover from a virus infection, the immune system stores a memory of the virus that they were exposed to. Whenever a pathogen is reencountered, immune cells and proteins circulating in the body are able to recognise it and kill it, protecting the body against disease and lowering the severity of the illness. This long-term immune protection consists of a number of different components. Antibodies, which are proteins that circulate in the blood, are proteins that recognise and neutralise foreign things such as viruses. Different types of T cells aid in the recognition and elimination of infections. B cells are responsible for producing new antibodies when the body requires them. So, suppose you are tested positive for COVID-19 recently (covid test near me). In that case, you may be wondering how long does immunity last after a COVID-19 infection.

Patients recovering from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have been discovered to have all of these immune-system components in their bloodstreams. However, the specifics of this immune response and how long it lasts after infection have remained a mystery. The sporadic instances of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 have generated worries that the immune response to the virus may not be as effective as it should be.

To better understand the immune memory of SARS-CoV-2, a study was conducted to analyse immune cells and antibodies from almost 200 people who had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and recovered—time since infection ranged from six days after manifestation of symptoms to eight months later. More than 40 patients had been in recovery for more than six months prior to the start of the trial. Around 50 persons provided blood samples more than once after COVID-19 infection. According to the researchers, the majority of the persons evaluated had long-lasting immunological responses. Interestingly, their levels remained steady throughout time, with only a slight decline occurring between 6 and 8 months following infection.

There are two different types of immunity our bodies can develop against COVID-19 infection. It can be natural immunity or vaccine-induced immunity. After a person is infected by a virus, the immune system retains a memory of it. This is how we develop natural-induced immunity. In the event that a pathogen is contacted again, immune cells and proteins that circulate in the body can recognise and kill it, thereby defending against sickness and decreasing the severity of illness. Followings are the components of immunity protection:

  • Antibodies: recognise and neutralise foreign molecules such as viruses.
  • Helper T cells: recognising pathogens.
  • Killer T cells help in killing pathogens.
  • B cells create new antibodies when the body needs them.

COVID-19 patients who have recovered have been found to have all four of these components in their bloodstream. However, it is unclear what this means for the immune response and how long immunity will endure as a result of this phenomenon. Most recently, a study has found that immunity can last for as long as eight months. This is significant because it demonstrates that the body is capable of “remembering” SARS-CoV-2. Suppose it comes into contact with the virus again. In that case, the memory B cells can immediately mobilise and begin producing antibodies to combat it.

In conclusion, COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the infection may have immunity for around eight months. However, this is still unclear. Studies are still being conducted to understand the following:

  • The possibility of reinfection.
  • How often reinfection occurs
  • How soon can reinfection take place
  • The severity of reinfection cases

Thus, we should continue to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing. More importantly, people should opt to get vaccinated to end the pandemic and return to pre-COVID life.