According to two new studies, immunity from COVID-19 could last a lifetime, if you’ve recovered from the virus and were later vaccinated.
The first study, which was published in the journal Nature, suggests people who were already exposed to COVID-19 can churn out antibodies whenever needed.
Dr. Purvi Parikh, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at NYU Langone, broke it down for FOX 5 NY.
"Studies are now showing if you were infected and got vaccinated, you may not need a booster because outside of even the antibodies your body will make something called memory b cells which will then be able to produce more antibodies in the future if you come in contact with COVID-19," Parikh explains.
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The other study, published online at Biorxiv, found that those cells remain relatively stable from anywhere between six and twelve months.
"For at least a year, their immunity appears to be really good, not just in those antibodies, but in those memory b cells that will remember the infection," she adds.
In fact, those studies found that memory b cells enhanced with a vaccine are so potent, they can even fight emerging variants of the virus, negating the need for a booster shot.
As for people who were fully vaccinated but who did not have COVID-19 beforehand:
"The studies are undergoing now so we should know soon if and when those people will also need a booster shot or not," Parikh says.
After all, doctors say the body's response to a live virus is much different than fighting a viral protein introduced by a vaccine.
Experts also argue that a previous COVID-19 infection isn't enough to protect you long-term and that if you've recovered from the virus you should still get vaccinated.