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You Might Be Immune to COVID For This Long, Study Shows

New research finally has the answer, researchers suspect.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Woman taking off mask outdoor

Since the start of the pandemic, researchers have been attempting to determine how long COVID-19 immunity lasts. While it has been clear that reinfection is possible, they have also been hoping to understand the potential severity of a second or third infection. Two new studies published this week hope to answer all of the questions surrounding COVID-19 immunity. Read on to find out how long immunity lasts after COVID—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID And it's Still Messing With You.

Immunity May Last a Full Year—Maybe Even a Lifetime

According to a study published on Monday in the journal Nature, immunity lasts at least a year—maybe even a lifetime—and continues improving over time. Immunity also strengthens after vaccination

Therefore, and keep in mind this is not conclusive yet, if you had COVID-19—even a mild case—and then got fully vaccinated, you may not need a booster. Alternatively, if you never had COVID, but got fully vaccinated, you may likely need a booster. 

"Last fall, there were reports that antibodies wane quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived," senior author Ali Ellebedy, Ph.D., an associate professor of pathology & immunology, of medicine and of molecular microbiology, explained in a press release

"But that's a misinterpretation of the data. It's normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don't go down to zero; they plateau. Here, we found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people's lives. That's strong evidence for long-lasting immunity."

He also explained that those with mild cases clear it from their bodies two to three weeks post infection, "so there would be no virus driving an active immune response seven or 11 months after infection," he pointed out. "These cells are not dividing. They are quiescent, just sitting in the bone marrow and secreting antibodies. They have been doing that ever since the infection resolved, and they will continue doing that indefinitely."

According to their research, even those who were infected but remained asymptomatic, may be left with long-lasting immunity. "But it's yet to be investigated whether those who endured more severe infection would be protected against a future bout of disease."

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How to Stay Healthy During This Pandemic

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live, if you are not vaccinated—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.