T-cell response ‘lasts six months after Covid infection’
By Philippa Roxby; Health reporter
Scientists have found evidence of immune cells responding to Covid-19 six months after people were infected.
In a study of 100 people with the virus, those with symptoms had a much higher T-cell reaction.
But it is still not clear whether this leads to better protection against re-infection.
The UK research team says the findings are “just one piece of the puzzle” on immunity and there is still a lot to learn.
The key question is whether being infected once with coronavirus can protect the body against being infected again and, if so, how long this immunity could last.
Scientists know that antibodies are made by the body from around 10 days after infection, but appear to dwindle over time. They stick to the virus in order to stop it.
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They have also discovered that a kind of immune cell, called a T-cell, attacks the cells infected with the virus. This is known as the cellular immune response and could also be key.
This study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a journal, suggests T-cells could play the more important role.
The research was carried out by the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, involving the University of Birmingham, the NIHR Manchester clinical research facility and Public Health England.