After months of uncertain speculation, researchers reported their strongest evidence that patients recovering from coronavirus had a stronger, faster immune response if they were exposed for a second time. .
These new findings indicate that SARS-CoV-2 antibodies can persist six months after initial infection and that they promote an antiviral response more effectively than those who have not yet had coronavirus. . It may explain why re-infections are so rare.
“That’s very good news,” said Michel Nussenzweig, head of molecular immunology at Rockefeller University in Manhattan and senior author of a study published on the open-source research website BioRxiv. “The expectation is that humans can induce an antibody response quickly and fight infection in a large number of cases,” he told the Guardian.
Scientists call this the “memory” of the immune system, supported by militia fighting T and B cell viruses. The two types of immune cells work together in an attempt to create antibodies in the blood, then suppress and destroy SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. More specifically, T cells lead the direct attack against the virus by destroying infected cells, while B cell analyzes the virus for antibodies, assembling and trapping the target. aggression. Eventually, the macrophages, another important immune cell, will come to clear the mess.
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Once under control, the immune system stores the “memory” T- and B cells, thereby developing special defenses against the coronavirus. If COVID-19 returns, they are released to fight the virus.
The Rockefeller study included 87 patients with COVID-19, who had an antibody test taken after just a month and repeated about six months, at which point their defense was reduced to only about 20%. Relative to the patient’s peak. However, researchers are less concerned with the overall concentration of the residual antibodies because they are specially fortified to fight the disease a second time.
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At the same time, the Coronavirus Immune Association of the UK recently posted its own immunization study on BioRxiv. Its study of 100 people who previously tested positive for coronavirus showed “strong T-cell response” within six months.
“T-cell responses were present in all individuals six months after SARS-CoV-2 infection,” reads a report on the association’s website. “A powerful memory cell against the virus will last for at least six months.”
Notably, the “T-cell response size” in symptomatic people was 50% higher than those with a positive test result but no symptoms.
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“The lesson from home is that people who are infected, six months later have… memory responses to antibodies that neutralize the virus and can do that very well,” says Nussenzweig. “We don’t know how long any protections will last, but it could be a really long time. Maybe many years ”.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post.