Even a mild case of COVID-19 can create antibodies that could give you lifetime protection from the virus, according to a new 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,” StudyFinds reports. “Such cells could persist for a lifetime, churning out antibodies all the while.”
The study’s findings were published on Monday in the journal, Nature. The researchers said there is evidence that immunity triggered by COVID-19 infection will be “extraordinarily long-lasting.”
“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 senior author Ali Ellebedy, an associate professor of pathology and immunology. “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.”
Ellebedy said that after COVID-19 clears up, specialized immune cells called long-lived plasma cells move to the bone marrow, where they then manufacture low levels of COVID antibodies to help prevent reinfection with the virus.
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