The human immune system is very powerful and it is also intelligent because it remembers invaders that it has been in contact with in the past. This memory is the key to the immune system.
If you have already had covid-19, you can be sure that your immune system faced a battle to rid you of the coronavirus infection. But what do we know about immunity after someone has recovered from covid-19? How long does it last? Ycan a person be infected for the second time with covid-19?
The experts at Houston Methodist Hospital explain what we know and what we don’t know about natural immunity. According to studies, the vast majority of people recovered from covid-19 have developed a large part of the components that facilitate immunity, including antibodies and trained immune cells.
Dr. Hiram Martínez, a primary care physician at Houston Methodist Hospital explains that, “a recent study showed that 98 percent of recovered individuals produce antibodies against the spike protein found in the virus shell. The study also showed that the levels of these antibodies seem to decrease only slightly over the next six to eight months”.
But immunity is not universal and it is not simple. There are reported cases that, although rare, show that covid-19 reinfection is possible.
“Another study found that not only can people be reinfected with COVID-19 a second time, but people who are reinfected can carry a significant amount of virus without showing any symptoms. This increases the concern of the inadvertent transmission of the virus during reinfection ”, warns the doctor. Martinez.
Immunity to COVID-19 varies from person to person, how severe the first infection was, and a variety of factors. Current antibody tests for covid-19 only indicate that there was infection in the past, but do not show how robust a person’s immune system is to cope with reinfection.
“The main problem with natural immunity is that there is no easy way to assess it in a particular individual. We have no way of telling a person that their natural immunity will protect them for eight months and another person to tell them that their natural immunity will only protect them for a couple of months ”, clarifies the Houston Methodist Hospital specialist.
For this reason, Dr. Martinez urges people to remain vigilant and practice protective behaviors to keep us all safe. In addition, the expert recommends getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Even if you have had covid, you should get vaccinated
Dr. Martínez explains that, “there are still many unknowns to be resolved in the areas of lasting natural immunity and the protection it offers. This is why the greatest confidence and safety is provided by vaccine-induced immunity ”. By simulating an infection, vaccines help the body build immunity in a very safe and potentially much stronger and longer-lasting way than the natural immunity caused by having had COVID-19 in the past.
“We know that vaccines against covid-19 provide very powerful protection against this devastating virus and although we still do not know exactly how long this protection lasts, this important aspect will continue to be studied in various clinical studies,” says the specialist.
Finally, Dr. Martínez comments that, “something extremely important is that it has been shown that vaccines continue to be effective against variants of covid-19 and this cannot be said of the immunity obtained by being infected with a different variant.”
In short: If you already had covid-19, if it is possible that you will be reinfected again. For this reason, it is essential to continue using face masks, practicing social distancing and vaccinating against covid-19 as soon as possible for you.
Located in the Texas Medical Center, Houston Methodist Hospital is considered for 9 consecutive years as number one in the state of Texas and in the city of Houston by the prestigious US News & World Report magazine (2012-2020). In 2021, Newsweek magazine included the Houston Methodist in the list of the 100 best hospitals worldwide.
Houston Methodist Hospital is recognized in the world for its cutting-edge medical research, for the care and care of its patients and for its areas of high specialty in: Oncology, Cardiology and Heart Surgery; Diabetes and Endocrinology; Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Surgery; Geriatrics; Nephrology; Neurology and Neurosurgery; Orthopedics and Sports Medicine; Pulmonology and Transplants; Otolaryngology and Gynecology.
Additionally, Houston Methodist Hospital is recognized worldwide for its leadership in covid-19 research. Houston Methodist Hospital has a renowned Wellness area where first-rate studies and check-ups are carried out. In this way, a complete and comprehensive picture of the physical and health status of each individual is obtained and, through a multidisciplinary group of experts, a precise and personalized future health program can be built.
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