The global pandemic caused by a single small viral particle has brought the world to a halt. Scientist and other medical professionals and constantly working on discovering a cure or a preventive measure like a vaccine to this virus. Thus this tiny virus and it’s properties are being studied and explored rigorously every day. In line with this a recent shocking discovery made by the scientists was that the antibodies that help immunize against the coronavirus remain in the body of the individual for around 5-7 months.
A bit on immunization:
To understand how immunity against COVID 19 works, a little must be understood on the concept of immunity. Our immune system comprises of 2 types of cells called the B – cells and the T – cells. Here in, the B cells are called the fighter cells that help fight and get rid of a foreign body whereas, the T-cells are memory cells and play a role in remembering the foreign body. While fighting a disease, the body works in a synchronized manner. This means that while reinfection, the T – cells or memory cells reminds the B – cells or the fighter cells of the initial process of fighting the disease or the foreign invading body.
Consequently as T – cells relay the message, the B – cells produce antibodies to fight the disease appropriately. However, the memory of T – cells are limited which means that if reinfection occurs after a certain period of time ( 5-7 months in case of coronavirus ) the body will fight the virus/ foreign body as a new infection. Thus the process of fighting the disease would be longer and have more stages as compared to if reinfection would be within the certain limited period of infection.
In many cases of reinfection, the body is so quick at action that symptoms may not even be noticeable. Hence, this makes the body resistant to the virus/ organism causing infection or diseases.
About immunity against COVID 19
A number of PhD scholars and scientist have been battling to understand the characteristics and features of the coronavirus. Although a lot is yet to be discovered, in the recent months a discovery was made that led to the easy of production of vaccines against the virus. This was about the production of antibodies in the body during the infection. It was found that the antibodies produced during infection were in fact suspended in the body for a couple of months even after the person may have been treated.
Accordingly it was made known that even if the person had suffered a mild infection, the body would process and make antibodies against the virus to help build the body’s immune system and neutralize the effect of the virus. These suspended antibodies remain in the body for an estimated period of 5-7 months thus making the person immune to / resistant to coronavirus in case of reinfection within 5 – 7 months.
A study conducted in April 2020, wherein around 30000 people have been tested after initial infection concluded with the result that antibodies are stably produced even 5 months after infection thus making the body immune towards SARS-CoV-2 infection. However the study could not be carried on further thus the results are not very promising and seem to be rather inconclusive.
Questions that still remain
As mentioned, the studies conducted were not promising and in aid of not putting human life to danger, the studies could not be conducted on all the necessary parameters. Hence a few questions still remain unanswered.
- How long exactly does the immunization against COVID 19 last for?
- Does this immunity vary depending on different factors like age, race, gender, environment, etc.?
- Is this immunity provided by suspended antibodies 100% effective?
- Does the immunity remain even if the patient suffers from other conditions or diseases like diabetes, cancer, etc.?
How are the COVID 19 antibodies determined?
The antibodies produced by the fighter cells or the B cells remain suspended in the blood. Thus antibody testing can be done either by the traditional testing with antigen – antibody reaction or by the help of other more developed methods like PCR (polymerase chain reaction), antibody sensitivity testing, etc.
It is imperative to not however that false positives or even false negatives for that matter are extremely common.
Since no cure is known yet, it is better to take the necessary precautions. Even though earlier infected, prevention is better than cure since the extent of immunity provided by the antibody is unknown.