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A new study led by the University of Oxford has found that previous infection, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, does not necessarily protect you long-term from COVID-19, particularly against new Variants of Concern.

Artist rendition of coronavirus

The Protective Immunity from T cells to COVID-19 in Health workers study (PITCH) – conducted in collaboration with the universities of Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle and Birmingham with support from the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium – examined how the immune system responds to COVID-19 in 78 healthcare workers who had experienced either symptomatic or asymptomatic disease (66 vs 12). An additional eight patients who experienced severe disease were included for comparison.

Blood samples were taken monthly from one to six months post infection to examine different elements of the immune response. This included different types of antibodies – such as Spike-specific and Nucleocapsid-specific antibodies produced to target different parts of the virus, alongside B cells that manufacture antibodies and keep the body’s memory of the disease, and several types of T cell.

The preprint report posted on Research Square details a highly complex and variable immune response following COVID-19 infection. Professor Susie Dunachie is co-author of this study

The full story is available on the University of Oxford website.

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