PEOPLE who recover from Covid may be immune from reinfection for several years, a study suggests.
Experts say the “exciting” findings give hope that a vaccine will also give long-lasting protection.
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American researchers analysed the blood of 185 men and women aged 19 to 81 who had beaten the virus.
They found they still had Covid antibodies and the immune cells that make them six to eight months later.
The scientists say the slow rate of decline suggests the antibodies and cells may persist for a long time.
It means the body is likely to be able to react quickly to reinfections, ensuring they are only mild or asymptomatic.
Prof Shane Crotty, who led the study at La Jolla Institute of Immunology, said: “That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalised disease, severe disease, for many years.
“The findings have implications for immunity against Covid-19 and thus the potential future course of the pandemic.”
Prof Lawrence Young, from the University of Warwick, said: “The significant take home message is that the immune response to the virus is more long-lived than previously thought.
“This lets us continue to hold hope that an effective vaccine will be able to induce sustained protective immunity.”
The findings were published online but have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in an academic journal.
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