A series of new studies have revealed signs of strong and lasting immunity in people who developed a mild coronavirus infection, according to a report on Sunday.
The studies, which have yet to be peer-reviewed, uncovered that antibodies and immune cells capable of recognizing the virus were apparently present months after infections concluded. The findings could help to eliminate the previous concerns over whether the virus could trick the immune system into having a poor memory of prior infections.
“This is exactly what you would hope for,” Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington who authored one of the new studies told the New York Times. “All the pieces are there to have a totally protective immune response.”
While scientists have yet to forecast how long the immune responses will last, researchers who have been monitoring immune responses to the virus for months now, believe the recent findings are encouraging signs.
Having those defense mechanisms present means the body has a good chance of fending off the coronavirus if reinfected.
“This is very promising,” said Smita Iyer, an immunologist at the University of California. “This calls for some optimism about herd immunity, and potentially a vaccine.”
Pepper — who authored one of the new studies — said the next step will be confirming and getting proof on whether people are truly able to ward off the coronavirus after being exposed a second time, the paper reported.