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New study reveals how long natural immunity keeps you safe from COVID-19

A new study examined how long antibodies from infection can fight off the coronavirus

The virus that causes COVID-19.
This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19.
NIAID-RML via Associated Press

A new study from scientists in the United Kingdom said COVID-19 antibodies from natural infection can keep you safe from the coronavirus for at least 10 months.

How long does natural immunity last?

The study — published in the medical journal Nature Microbiology — reviewed blood samples from people who were infected in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The researchers found the antibodies were able to fight off infection lived for 10 months after symptoms.

The U.K. scientists suggested that a large number of antibodies can be detected months after infection. Here’s how the researchers explained it in the study:

  • “Initial concerns were that the SARS-CoV-2 antibody response might mimic that of other human endemic coronaviruses, such as 229E, for which antibody responses are short-lived and re-infections occur,” the team wrote in the paper.
  • “However, our data and that of other recent studies show that although neutralizing antibody titres decline from an initial peak response, robust neutralizing activity against both pseudotyped viral particles and infectious virus can still be detected in a large proportion of convalescent sera at up to 10 months POS.”

Does natural immunity stop more COVID-19 infections?

There have been a number of questions about how well natural immunity can keep you safe from COVID-19. A recent study — which comes from the Yale School of Public Health — found that unvaccinated people with natural immunity might catch COVID-19 once every 16 months, an indication that the virus may continue to spread among those who natural immunity.

  • “Our results are based on average times of waning immunity across multiple infected individuals,” Hayley Hassler, a co-author of the study, told Yale Daily News. “Any one of those individuals may experience longer or shorter durations of immunity depending on immune status, cross-immunity, age, and multiple other factors.”

Is the COVID-19 vaccine better than natural immunity?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revealed in a new report that immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine is more consistent than natural immunity. But, natural immunity can last for at least six months after infection.

  • “The CDC’s bottom line: Given what’s known and not known about immunity, people who have been infected with the virus should still get vaccinated,” according to The Washington Post.