Immunity against COVID-19 may last for 5 months at least: Study

WION New Delhi Oct 18, 2020, 03.48 PM(IST) Oct 18, 2020, 04.07 PM(IST) Written By: Athouba Huidrom Meetei

FILE Photograph:( Reuters )

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Longest that the antibodies were observed in a former patient were 7 month after his recovery. The duration of the effective immunity varied, but it was found to persist atleast for 5 months

A study by researchers at University of Arizona has revealed that immunity against COVID-19 may persist at least for five months. The study, led by an Indian origin researcher studied the production of antibodies from a sample of nearly 6,000 people infected with the novel coronavirus.

"We clearly see high-quality antibodies still being produced five to seven months after SARS-CoV-2 infection," said Deepta Bhattacharya, associate professor at the University of Arizona.

Bhattacharya led the study and published it in a scientific journal Immunity alongside Dr Janko Nicolich Zugic.

Dr Nikolich-Zugich is an internationally recognized leading Immunologist and Gerontologist. He spoke with WION.

He said that the longest that the antibodies were observed in a former person were 7 month after his recovery. The duration of the effective immunity varied, but it was found to persist atleast for 5 months.

He did not seem to express surprise at relatively short longevity of the antibodies generated by coronavirus as he said different viral infections elicited different immune response from the human body.

"What is known is that different infections elicit different lengths of antibody responses and but generally viruses do tend to elicit responses that will last for many months and actually many years and there are examples of extraordinary long immunity. So, for instance, the measles virus, mumps virus and smallpox virus are the record holders and the antibodies that we make against them are so long-lived that they will outlive us many times," said Dr Nikolich-Zugich.

He feels that vaccines against coronavirus would indeed prove to be effective.

"I think there is no reason to believe that the vaccines would not do well. First of all, this is not a virus that changes very rapidly.  It's not like for instance the HIV virus that has many many mutations occurring every cycle," he said.

However, he feels that things will get worse with coronavirus pandemic before they get better. He said that a second wave of infections was likely as most regions of the world approached winter.

"In winter we go into close quarters and that is you know, providing the virus with more people to infect aT A closer range. So that risK is very much there and it is very likely that we are going to experience, you know, another surge," said Dr Nikolich-Zugich.

(With agency inputs)

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