While a Covid-19 vaccine is being developed, scientists believe we can achieve herd immunity and slow the spread of the disease.
Not enough studies have been conducted to know for sure whether people are immune to getting infected by the virus again. Lauren Rodda, a PhD at University of Washington School of Medicine, said, “This would require tracking the re-exposure of a significant number of people and determining if they get sick.”
However, a study found that those who recover from even mild cases of Covid-19, produce antibodies. These protect against the virus for a minimum of 5-7 months.
“We conclude that neutralizing antibodies are stably produced for at least 5-7 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection,” said the team of researchers. The team is headed by Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunobiologist at the University Of Arizona College Of Medicine.
After conducting researches and studies, Rodda found that people who recover from mild cases of Covid-19 have memory B and memory T cells. These cells give the immune system memory of previous microbial invaders, allowing for a prompt response to battle the virus next time it enters the body.
Dr Steven Sperber, interim chief of the department of infectious diseases at Hackensack University Medical Center, mentioned that the presence of antibodies only means that there has been exposure in the past. Having a positive antibody test means that one is immune to the virus. In some cases, antibodies may not provide any protection against reinfection.
According to Lauren Rodda and Dr Sperber, the extensive use of a vaccine is integral in achieving herd immunity. “Underutilization of effective vaccines can prevent the development of herd immunity and result in continued spread of infection,” he said.
Comprehending how our immune system responds to the virus is a cue which will lead to successful Covid-19 vaccine development. Until then we must maintain social distancing and take precautions against the virus by wearing masks.