COVID-19 immunity may last years, new study suggests

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COVID-19 immunity may last years, according to a study published Nov. 16 on the preprint server bioRxiv. 

Researchers recruited 185 adults who had recovered from COVID-19, most of whom had mild symptoms and did not require hospitalization. The majority of participants provided just one blood sample, but 38 provided multiple samples over several months.

The study assessed immune system antibodies, B cells that make more antibodies as needed, and two types of T cells that kill infected cells. The research shows that antibodies were durable, with modest declines six to eight months after infection, although there was a vast difference in the levels among participants. T cells showed only a slight decay, while the number of B cells surprisingly rose.

"That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years," Shane Crotty, PhD, a virologist at La Jolla (Calif.) Institute of Immunology and co-leader of the study, told The New York Times. 

The research has not been peer-reviewed, but is the longest and most comprehensive study of immunity to the coronavirus thus far, reports the NYT.

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