Health Care

Coronavirus immunity could last for years, according to new study

Coronavirus immunity could last for years, according to new study”

The study has raised hopes that the protection conferred by coronavirus vaccines could last for years, and that an annual jab may not be required.

However, every person who tests positive for COVID-19 has the potential to spread the virus to other people, including family members and friends, which is why public health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask and maintain at least the recommended six feet of "social distance" when in public. "We found no new symptomatic infections in any of the participants who had tested positive for antibodies".

This, the authors wrote, "represents major determinants of immune protection on an individual as well as population level".

"Several studies have found that individuals with asymptomatic infection may clear the virus faster, suggesting that those without symptoms may be as infectious as those with symptoms at the beginning of infection, but may be infectious for a shorter period".

But newer recent research on T-cells was more optimistic, suggesting a response could last for much longer.

Scientists said the results indicated most people are unlikely to get COVID-19 again if they have already had it in the previous six months.

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Study co-author, Dr Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, Head of the Gerok Liver Center at University Hospital Freiburg, also expressed optimism about their results, suggesting that immunity against the new coronavirus can be achieved after an infection, and that, "similarly, vaccines now being tested in trials could provide significant protection against SARS-CoV-2".

"That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalised disease, severe disease, for many years", said Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology, with Dr Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona, believing that it's not an unreasonable prediction to think that these immune memory components would last for years.

The study hasn't been peer-reviewed or published yet, but according to The New York Times, "it is the most comprehensive and long-ranging study of immune memory to the coronavirus to date". Those three were all well and did not develop COVID-19 symptoms, they added.

It comes as optimism grows over the development and deployment of effective vaccines to combat the pandemic.

Delirium is a common symptom of coronavirus in elderly patients, found in around one in three infected over-65s.

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