The future of the pandemic is looking clearer as we learn more about infection

R&I – FS

During the early days of the pandemic, scientists and doctors were concerned that being infected with SARS-CoV-2 might not trigger a strong immune response in many people – thus an infection might not provide long-term protection.

“Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests,” a headline from The Guardian alerted back in July 2020. “King’s College London team found steep drops in patients’ antibody levels three months after infection,” the story warned.

But that idea was based on preliminary data from the laboratory — and on a faulty understanding of how the immune system works. Now about a year and a half later, better data is painting a more optimistic picture about immunity after a bout of COVID-19. In fact, a symptomatic infection triggers a remarkable immune response in the general population, likely offering protection against severe disease and death for a few years.

And if you’re vaccinated on top of it, your protection is likely even better, studies are consistently showing.

Here are several key questions people have been asking throughout the pandemic – and ones that researchers are beginning to answer.

If I just had COVID, am I protected against getting a severe course of COVID in the future ?

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Does this mean I won’t get reinfected if I’ve had COVID or even better, have had COVID and am fully vaccinated?

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So why is the immune system so good at preventing severe disease but not really able to stop reinfection?


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