PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — New research by Oregon scientists shows your body’s protection against COVID-19 could last a year — and likely longer — if you survived the virus or are fully vaccinated.
OHSU officials said that’s the early findings in their study of COVID patients. The study is a step toward knowing if a third COVID shot might be necessary.
The OHSU research focused on two dozen people who got COVID in 2020, ranging from people with mild symptoms to those who were hospitalized. The scientists studied regular blood samples taken from the patients enrolled in the study for the past 11 months.
They found the patients had developed memory cells in their bodies that recognized the need to make more antibodies to fight off COVID-19 if the virus reappeared.
“Almost a year out we are still able to easily identify surveying immune cells in people’s blood that says even a year after the first infection our immune system is still poised to protect against a repeat infection,” OHSU researcher Dr. William Messer said.
The sense is they will continue to be protecting people for some time after that. The scientists also had some people in the study who were vaccinated after being infected and they had even higher levels of antibodies to fight off another COVID attack.
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It’s also a sign that getting vaccinated — even for those who had COVID — provides more protection.
The question of whether a booster shot will be needed at some point depending on the variants remains to be answered.