NATURE ON NATURAL IMMUNITY: Had COVID? You’ll probably make antibodies for a lifetime.

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Many people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 will probably make antibodies against the virus for most of their lives. So suggest researchers who have identified long-lived antibody-producing cells in the bone marrow of people who have recovered from COVID-191.

The study provides evidence that immunity triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection will be extraordinarily long-lasting. Adding to the good news, “the implications are that vaccines will have the same durable effect”, says Menno van Zelm, an immunologist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

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Antibodies — proteins that can recognize and help to inactivate viral particles — are a key immune defence. After a new infection, short-lived cells called plasmablasts are an early source of antibodies.

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But these cells recede soon after a virus is cleared from the body, and other, longer-lasting cells make antibodies: memory B cells patrol the blood for reinfection, while bone marrow plasma cells (BMPCs) hide away in bones, trickling out antibodies for decades.

www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01442-9

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