Covid-19 carriers 'most infectious earlier on'

Henrietta Strickland
November 20, 2020

Part of the reason researchers studied all three diseases was to determine why COVID-19 has spread more rapidly than the earlier diseases. The researchers said that there was about a 200-fold range in the level of antibody responses among the adults.

The "memory" blueprint is stored in B cells and T cells.

The scientists detected B cells in nearly all covid-19 cases.

Most of the group (92 percent) had only mild infections and never needed to be hospitalized.

However, in a striking piece of information which throws new light at the situation, a team of researchers from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rockefeller University, New York, have found that rather than depleting entirely, the virus-fighting antibodies become more potent and capable of fighting any mutations and virulent strains of SARS-COV-2.

"By studying these multiple compartments of adaptive immunity in an integrated manner, we observed that each component of SARS-CoV-2 immune memory exhibited distinct kinetics", the researchers wrote in the study.

T cells come in two forms: one that group that works alongside B cells to manufacture the right antibodies to fight a given pathogen and a second type that acts like an assassin, killing off once-healthy cells that have become infected, so that they can't help a virus, bacterium or even cancer spread elsewhere. By the time some people get the results of swabs, they may be past their most infectious phase.

More than five months after their COVID-19 diagnosis "96% of individuals were still positive for at least three out of five SARS-CoV-2 immune memory responses", the study said.

While it's still unclear exactly how long immunity may last, or whether it could prevent transmission (though that is certainly plausible), the new study has eased experts' concerns of short-lived protection based on studies that pointed to declining antibodies.

In a statement to United Kingdom based Science Media Centre, Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said that there are two major consequences if the findings are as they say. "This means that the population level of immunity may be rising which will eventually lead to reduced transmission", Evan said adding that this, coupled with immunity being conferred by vaccination, offers prospects of transmission of the virus being markedly reduced over the next year or so.

"Secondly, it is probably very good news for vaccines also being able to provide immunity that is more than very short-term".

Another, perhaps more hopeful, study shows that immunity might last years, possibly even decades.

The research, published by The Lancet Microbe journal on Thursday, suggests people with COVID-19 reach their highest viral load within the first five days with symptoms. The data indicates that most people who were infected with the virus and then recovered since the global pandemic started over eight months ago still hold immunity to the virus.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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