A study found that natural immunity against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) remains 20 months post-infection
According to researchers led by Dr. Dorry Segev of the Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation at Johns Hopkins University
, antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) remain in 99 percent of the study participants who tested positive for the virus – some of whom contracted the disease 20 months prior.
The researchers recruited unvaccinated, healthy adults in the fall of 2021 and divided them into three groups: individuals who had test-confirmed COVID-19 infections in the past, individuals who believed they recovered from COVID but did not get any tests, and individuals who did not think they ever got COVID or test positive at any given time.
In the first group, all but two of the participants tested positive for antibodies, with no indication that the level of protection waned over time. In the second group, around 55 percent tested positive for anti-RBD antibodies. In the third group, only 11 percent of the participants had antibodies.
Segev said that the major takeaway from the study is that natural immunity remains strong and durable
Dr. Nasia Safdar, a professor in the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health
also said that the results were encouraging, although likely applicable only to a healthy adult population who has the ability and resources to get a blood draw. (Related: CDC finally admits natural immunity is SUPERIOR to vaccines
"We are probably missing the immunocompromised, older, frail groups of people where immune response may be very different than other groups," Safdar said.
Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a clinical professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
also said that the study confirms that those with a prior infection will have detectable antibodies that may be persistent for up to 20 months. This should give people who recovered from COVID the confidence that they are protected, and should prompt officials to stop imposing vaccine mandates, or grant exceptions to those who are naturally immune.
"Unfortunately, still, we do not know the exact level of antibody that is protective against infection versus disease or death, but that matters less in the current context of living with COVID and accepting the fact that most people with prior infection or vaccination will not get seriously ill," Klausner said.
It remains unclear whether or not the anti-RBD antibodies will protect people against other variants of the virus. The omicron variant, for instance, has become the most dominant strain in the U.S. since December. Research suggests that it can even evade protection from vaccines and prior infection.
Natural immunity superior to vaccination
Other studies have found that natural immunity is superior to vaccination, including one which was backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Related: Why "natural immunity" is a political problem for the regime
Some experts recommend that people get at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine despite recovering from the disease due to the uncertainty that the virus causes. However, others point to research that indicates vaccines would only give a small boost of protection to those who are already naturally immune.
After a person acquires a virus, the immune system usually retains a memory of it. The immune cells and proteins that circulate the body can recognize and kill the pathogen when the virus is encountered again, protecting the body against disease
and reducing the severity of the illness.
Immunity protection usually includes antibodies, which are proteins that circulate in the blood and recognize foreign substances to neutralize them, helper T cells that recognize pathogens, killer T cells that kill pathogens and B cells that make new antibodies when the body needs them.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 were found to have all four of these components. Segev added that he and other scientists are now looking into how omicron can affect the naturally immune.
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