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Hints of Long Immunity

A new study suggests immunity to SARS-CoV-2 may last years after infection, the New York Times reports, a finding that may assuage concerns that immunity to the virus may be short-lived.

Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology examined circulating immune cells from 185 people who had COVID-19, including a number of people who fell ill more than six months ago. As they report in a preprint posted to BioRxiv, the researchers found that spike IgG levels were broadly stable over time, with slight declines around six and eight months. At the same time, spike-specific memory B-cells were more abundant at six months as compared to one month post-infection, while the number of CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells declined a little bit over time.

These findings, the Times reports, provide hope that vaccines developed against the virus may also provide long-lasting protection and may not need yearly updates. "That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years," co-senior author Shane Crotty from La Jolla tells the Times.