Virus immunity disappears in months: study

Virus Immunity Disappears In Months: Study

Experts say the immunity of patients recovering from coronavirus infection remains strong for months. Experts say it could have a "significant" impact on how governments handle the epidemic, according to research released Monday.

In the first study of its kind, a team led by researchers at King's College London examined antibody levels in more than 90 confirmed virus patients and how they changed over time.

Blood tests only showed people with mild COVID-19 symptoms, which increased some immune responses to the virus.

In the study group, 60 percent showed a "powerful" viral response in the first few weeks after infection.

However, after 16 months only 16.7 percent administered high levels of COVID-19-neutralizing antibodies, and most patients did not have detectable antibodies in the bloodstream after 90 days.

When the body faces an external threat like a virus, it mobilizes cells to detect and kill criminals.

In doing so, it produces a protein called an antibody, which is programmed by the body to target a specific antigen fight, such as a key cut to a specific lock.

As long as someone has enough antibodies, they will be able to pull out new infections, turning them into immunity.

Research on Monday suggests that the immune system, like other viruses such as influenza, cannot clear and last longer than a few months.

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Experts say these researches could change how governments plan for the next stage of the epidemic, including how to fund research and development.

"This is an important study that begins to define the long-term dynamics of the antibody response in SARS-CoV-2," said Lawrence Young, a professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick using the full name of the virus strain.

"This further underscores the need for us to better understand what the protective immune response will be if an effective vaccine is developed," said Young, who was not involved in the research.

James Gill, an honorary clinical lecturer at Warwick Medical School, reiterated the need for everyone to continue the outbreak, especially at the start of the European holiday.

"We are not surprised that these patients have a surprising approach to antibodies to COVID19, any protection benefit being mild, or at least volatile," he said.

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"Even with a positive antibody test - especially those who are not responsible for where they are exposed - caution, social removal and proper mask use should continue."

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