How long do our immune cells protect us?

Since the China Flu invaded the United States early last year and became the COVID-19 pandemic, just under 34 million Americans became infected. Over 27 million recovered, and just under 6 million are being treated – mostly at home in a two-week quarantine. Slightly over 600 thousand succumbed to the virus.

If you are one of the 98% of Americans who survived the virus, you have antibodies to protect you in the future from the same disease.

Antibodies and Protection One of the first questions people ask their doctors is about becoming reinfected from the same virus. The answer is yes. Even vaccinated people can become infected from SARS-CoV-2. There is no guarantee in life when it comes to diseases. Some people have a truly short period of protection, and others are protected months or years longer. Your immune system and antibodies are your first line of defense.

COVID-19 Reinfection Rate Less than a half percent of people have been confirmed as being reinfected with the COVID-19 virus. CDC analyzed test data for over 63 million people in nearly 100 healthcare organizations within three months after people were initially diagnosed with coronavirus. Of those testing positive a second time, only 486 required hospitalization. Unfortunately, 54 died from the virus.

It is speculated that the accurate statistics of reinfection come from the hospitalization and deaths, not the positive test results of the virus. Over 60 million people infected with under 500 hospitalized and just over 50 dead represent the actual reinfection rate of COVID-19. Testing positive a second time could be explained by other reasons.

Latest Research The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reviewed bone marrow samples from nineteen patients a bit over six months after they had been infected with COVID-19. All had mild symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, malaise, headache, muscle pain, etc.). Patients were treated at home.

The immune system responds rapidly to any current threat. When that threat is neutralized, the body retains molecular markers to recognize and react quickly if the disease returns within weeks or months. Some longer-lasting immune cells are held in reserve in the bone marrow. Antibodies are produced from the bone marrow and replaced when those cells die.

Researchers found antibody production nearly a year after the initial infection. When long-lived immune cells take up residence in the bone marrow (resting memory B cells), the patient can expect long-term protection from that specific invader, even if slightly modified by mutation.


The study concentrated on patients with mild symptoms. It is guesswork to project how long protection can be expected for those people who were asymptomatic or had severe symptoms of COVID-19 and were hospitalized.

I read daily stories that no one knows how long the vaccine will provide protection or how long antibodies will be generated from those infected with the virus. Why report that we do not know something, and we think the worst-case scenario is nearly upon us – another surge with hospitals brimming with COVID-19 patients and funeral homes backed up with bodies?

Short-lived immune cells die off within months, maybe years. No one knows for sure regarding these cells and COVID-19. Long-lived immune cells reside in our bone marrow and will be with us for years. Is it possible another coronavirus, significantly different from SARS-CoV-2, could enter our bodies? Yes, anything is possible. Is it possible that no new strains, viral variants, or mutations rise to the level to present a future health challenge? Yes, that is also possible.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –



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