06/30/2021 / By Ralph Flores
People who recover from mild cases of COVID-19 develop antibodies that may protect them from the Wuhan coronavirus, say researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSTL). In their report, which was published in Nature, the team noted that these immune cells can persist for a lifetime as they continue to produce antibodies.
This suggests that mild cases of COVID-19 may leave patients with lasting antibody protection, reducing the likelihood of reinfection.
“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,” explained Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at WUSTL and the senior author of the study.
“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.”