Immune System Memory Persists a Year After COVID-19

(Reuters) – A year after infection with the coronavirus, when antibodies in the blood are barely detectable, the immune system continues to “remember” the virus and should respond to some extent upon re-encountering it, a study from China suggests.

Researchers studied 141 people infected with the virus in the first half of 2020 who provided blood samples 12 months later. None of them had been vaccinated in the interim. Most individuals still had low levels of antibodies, and most of those younger than 60 still had some antibodies that could neutralize the virus, according to a report published in The Lancet Microbe.

But in everyone – regardless of age or severity of the original infection, and including patients who had lost their neutralizing antibodies – responses by memory B cells and memory T cells were still evident “and were not disrupted by new variants,” the researchers said.

“Current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are mainly focused on neutralizing antibodies,” the researchers noted. “These data underline the importance of broad B-cell and T-cell immunity for future vaccine strategies targeting SARS-CoV-2.”

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3uJpfez The Lancet Microbe, online March 23, 2022.

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