Coronavirus immunity can last up to 8 months

A slew of positive clinical vaccine trials is building hope for an end to the pandemic

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While the world still wrestles with the COVID-19 pandemic, the question that some researchers are now grappling with is how long does the immunity developed against the infection last in the human body.

Scientists have noted that our pets can catch Covid-19 from us, but they very rarely get sick.

According to a study by frontline health workers fighting the UK's coronavirus epidemic, people who have Covid-19 are more likely to be re-contracted at least six months after their first infection.

"The big question is if people with coronavirus are developing delirium because the virus has a huge effect on the body and the immune system, as we might see with other infections, or is there something more specific with coronavirus and the brain?"

As we go through studies claiming that widely-available mouthwashes can kill the deadly novel coronavirus, health experts in India cast doubts on such studies, stressing that people should not treat mouthwash as a prevention method from Covid-19 unless proven in clinical settings.

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In this study, a research team at the Medical Center - University of Freiburg in Germany found that after recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection, immune cells are formed which remain in the body and could mediate a rapid immune response in case of reinfection. The study, published November 19 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), also suggests that in addition to blocking SARS-CoV-2's entry into cells, the antibodies may combat the virus by enlisting various types of white blood cells to fight the infection.

Only three staff members with antibodies tested positive for Covid-19 without symptoms.

The paper, released on Thursday, is yet to be peer-reviewed but was published on the MedRxiv website.

In the blood samples, the researchers examined components of immune memory.

Of those without any antibodies at the start of study, 89 developed symptomatic infections that were confirmed with a swab test.

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This means that the T cells within the infected person play a significant role in protecting against secondary infection rather than the antibodies alone, write the researchers.

The research studied 185 COVID-19 cases, including 41 cases in people who had been infected six or more months prior. But it is so far unclear how long Covid-19 patients are protected for.

T cells - which can't be detected by the "have you had it" antibody tests - made in response to the infection may offer a form of immunity that lasts several times longer.

Another, perhaps more hopeful, study shows that immunity might last years, possibly even decades. The T cells have two ways of functioning: the helper T cells help B cells and the cytotoxic T cells elicit a reaction that can kill the infected cells.

Dr. Muge Cevik, of the University of St Andrews, told the BBC: "People really need to be supported to make sure they isolate as soon as they get symptoms, however mild". When these neutralizing antibodies were given passively - through convalescent plasma transfusion, for example - infection severity was found to be much less severe in lab animals.

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Those found non-compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act may be issued a ticket and a fine of up to $750. In the province's long-term care homes, 558 residents now have COVID-19 and four new deaths were reported Friday.


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