People who experienced mild COVID illness develop a lifetime ability to fight off future infections, according to a Washington University Medical School study.
“Months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, people still have immune cells in their body pumping out antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Such cells could persist for a lifetime, churning out antibodies all the while.”
Some have argued that antibody levels fall off quickly after infection, but the study calls those claims misleading.
“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. Here, we found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people’s lives. That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity.”
The body only produces antibodies when an intruder, like SARS-CoV-2 is detected. That is the reason that people who have recovered from COVID show low levels of antibodies and why doing antibody testing to determine immunity is flawed.
“These cells are not dividing. They are quiescent, just sitting in the bone marrow and secreting antibodies. They have been doing that ever since the infection resolved, and they will continue doing that indefinitely.”
The publishers of the study also said that severe cases of COVID-19 create high levels of inflammation which could lead to a “defective immune response.” So this finding is for those who were either asymptomatic or had mild, flu-like symptoms.
Unlike the vaccines, natural immunity gained through the mild onset of COVID-19 could give people a lifetime of protection, according to science.
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