If you get COVID-19, will the antibodies protect you from re-infection? If so, how long will this protection (immunity) last? There have been concerns in the media that antibodies to the virus that cause COVID-19 may not remain long enough to prevent repeat infection. However, that is not true. When infected with any virus, cells in the body called plasmablasts make lots of antibodies a few days after infection. These cells die after about two weeks but their antibodies stay for longer to continue to protect the body. Meanwhile, a second type of cell starts to make new antibodies called long-lived plasma cells that last for a very long time. A third type of cells, memory cells, do not make antibodies unless the infection returns – then they go to work as plasmablasts and start making antibodies to prevent the re-infection becoming severe. So antibody response to COVID-19 has a peak, a decline and a stabilization phase. This is good news and means that the antibodies allow people to be protected from re-infection for at least 4 months. This protection may last even longer.
Photo by Rawpixel