How long is the acquired immunity from being infected with the coronavirus? If I caught the virus two months ago, when should I start to worry about reinfection? Two great questions!
Our bodies make memory cells that assist our immune system to recognize and fight foreign invaders that have passed through our bodies in the past. https://primaryimmune.org/immune-system-and-primary-immunodeficiency provides some of the best information for the casual reader about how our immune system works.
The novel coronavirus is still new to the medical industry. Is it like other coronaviruses so that predictions can be made? Is it unique in ways that lengthen or shorten the immune memory response? Not enough time has elapsed to give a definitive answer.
I remember initial estimates a few months ago were that people infected with the SARS-Co-V-2 virus would probably have a two to four months immunity to reinfection. It was the best guess at that time. No one really knew.
The virus has been with us for most of 2020. Examining patients who have recovered show functional immunity five to seven months after the initial infection. That tells us that the first guess of a few months of functional immunity has risen to at least six months and maybe a month or so longer.
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-long-does-immunity-last-after-covid-19-what-we-know gives details about researchers testing patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and have memory B and memory T cells that can identify the coronavirus. This gives people a better shot at immunity the next time the virus enters their bodies.
What is still not understood is how effective these memory B and memory T cells are six months or a year from now. If the recovered patient had a severe case, is that immune response stronger or weaker than an infection that was mild in comparison?
https://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccines-work/ should provide us with immunity to a disease. If enough people catch the disease and/or are vaccinated (or a combination of both) then a herd immunity begins that protects the population. Most people would have immunity from having the disease or being vaccinated that the virus cannot hop, skip, and jump into the next body. It would run into brick walls and flounder, fizzle and die.
Some vaccines work well, and we might need a booster shot every five, ten, or twenty years. Newer vaccines do not have the luxury of knowing how long they can prevent reinfection. We are in that guessing game phase of immunity and vaccinations.
Researchers are monitoring patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Their anti-viral properties are evaluated, and new best guesses are made every few months. One problem is that we could have caught a cold from a coronavirus several years ago and the anti-viral history is still in our bodies.
Blood tests for antibodies might not be able to differentiate the SARS-CoV-2 virus from the SARS-CoV virus. Does that mean that people are susceptible to infection (or reinfection) from COVID-19?
I wish we knew more. It is part of the process of fighting new diseases. The waiting game must be played.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com