How Long Does Immunity Last After Contracting COVID-19 ?

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The effects of COVID-19 on natural immunity

Immunity can develop naturally after developing or getting COVID-19 vaccination or even from a combination of both. However, high immunity levels do not necessarily make you resilient to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still investigating how long immunity lasts and whether someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can still spread the virus to others.

The body’s immune response is composed of many different types of cells that work together to protect against infection. When a person contracts a virus, such as COVID-19, their body produces immune cells and proteins that circulate in the blood to recognize the pathogen. If the person contracts the same virus again, these immune cells and proteins can kill the pathogen, preventing the person from getting sick or reducing the severity of the illness.

Let’s discuss the components of immunity protection that most patients should know to understand their defence mechanism better.

What are the components of immunity?

Building immunity is a complex process, with the body’s response to a virus varying from person to person. The components of immunity that protect against a virus include

  • Antibodies
  • Dendritic cells
  • T cells

These components work together to identify and destroy the virus. Further, the body’s response to a virus can also vary depending on the person’s age, health status, and genetic factors.

An important question is how long immunity will last after contracting the COVID virus. So, let’s discuss this in detail below.

How long will my immunity last after contracting COVID?

It is currently unknown how long does immunity last. The CDC is still investigating whether someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can still spread the virus to others. The body’s response to a virus can also vary depending on the person’s age, health status, and genetic factors. 

Generally, reinfections were uncommon before the advent of omicron. A team at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar estimated that about 90% of unvaccinated and vaccinated people could prevent reinfection using an earlier COVID strain. Though according to researcher Abu-Raddad, omicron has changed that calculus.

Immunity lasts for a considerable period and saves us from reinfection. But it’s also important to know the severity of the subsequent infections to understand how long-lasting the immunity is.

What will be the severity of subsequent infections?

The good news is that if the virus sneaks past your initial antibody defences, your body can call on immune cells, like T cells and B cells, to quash reinfection. T cells are a key part of the adaptive immune system, which is the part of the immune system that “remembers” viruses and other pathogens the body has previously encountered.

When a person contracts a virus, their body produces T cells that circulate in the blood and recognize the pathogen. They can also reduce the severity of infections if they contract the same virus again.

An iterative process is involved in building up immune protection in these cells. As a result, people who have been vaccinated and boosted are well prepared to fight COVID-19. The virus is also prevented from replicating at high levels in people who have been infected before. The best protection may come from hybrid immunity built up by people who have encountered both vaccines and COVID.

Finally, let’s discuss preventing reinfections in previously infected COVID-19 patients.

How can you prevent reinfections?

It is still possible to avoid reinfection using many tools and behaviours that help prevent infections. These include: washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others.
Additionally, wearing a mask or face covering when around others, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and staying up-to-date on the latest information about the virus can also help reduce your risk of reinfection. Besides, research is underway to determine how long does immunity last in COVID-19 patients.