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Study: Immune response 6 months after Covid-19 infection

CAPE TOWN – A Study in the United Kingdom has found that T-cell immunity against Covid-19 is likely to be found within most adults six months after infection.

Researchers from the U.K. Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC), Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Public Health England discovered strong T-cell responses in participants.

The team of researchers studied the role of T-cells in immunity against SAS-CoV-2 at six months after Covid-19 infection collecting samples from 100 individuals who tested positive between March and April 2020.

T-cells play a big part in the way our bodies fight off infections much like antibodies, however, T-cells has shown longer memory spans and activated other immune cells to support the fight against viruses and infection.

The researchers discovered T cell responses in all tested individuals although the size of the response differed between them but found that there was a higher response in those who had experienced symptomatic infections six months before.

“This study shows the benefit of funding world-leading immunologists through the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium. Researchers investigated whether previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in immunity to reinfection. They found that a robust cellular memory against the virus persists for at least six months. This is promising news – if natural infection with the virus can elicit a robust T cell response then this may mean that a vaccine could do the same,” said Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council.

Professor Paul Moss, UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium lead from University of Birmingham, believes that their study is the first in the world to discover robust cellular immunity remains at six months after the Covid-19 infection in individuals but says further research is needing to be made into how to further protect individuals from reinfection.

“Our knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 infection is increasing all the time. While our findings cause us to be cautiously optimistic about the strength and length of immunity generated after SARS-CoV-2 infection, this is just one piece of the puzzle,” added Moss. “There is still a lot for us learn before we have a full understanding of how immunity to COVID-19 works. While we increase our understanding, whether we think we have previously had COVID-19 or not, we all should still follow Government guidelines on social distancing to ensure we play our part in minimising the spread of COVID-19 within our communities.”

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