Coronavirus patients have cellular immunity for six months after infection, a study from Birmingham experts has found.
Those suffering from Covid-19 have T-cell immunity for up to half a year, city academics have concluded as part of a ground-breaking study.
100 people in the UK who were not hospitalised with Covid-19 took part in the study by Birmingham University.
The findings are seen to be “cautiously optimistic”, reports Mirror Online.
Paul Moss, a professor of haematology at Birmingham University who co-led the study said: “While our findings cause us to be cautiously optimistic about the strength and length of immunity generated after SARS-CoV-2 infection, this is just one piece of the puzzle.
“There is still a lot for us learn before we have a full understanding of how immunity to Covid-19 works.”
“(Our) early results show that T-cell responses may outlast the initial antibody response,” said Shamez Ladhani, a consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England who co-led the work.
“These results provide reassurance that, although the titre of antibody to SARS-CoV-2 can fall below detectable levels within a few months of infection, a degree of immunity to the virus may be maintained,” said Charles Bangham, chair of immunology at Imperial College London.
“However, the critical question remains: do these persistent T-cells provide efficient protection against re-infection?”
“This … bodes well for the long term, in terms of both vaccine development and the possibility of long-term protection against re-infection,” said Eleanor Riley, an immunology and infectious disease professor at Edinburgh University.
She stressed, however, that “we don’t yet know whether the people in this study are protected from re-infection.”
While more than 46 million people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19, confirmed cases of re-infection are so far very rare.