COVID-19: Infected person gets immunity for next 10 months, study finds

A research study conducted by researchers from across the US has shown that a person infected with coronavirus builds excellent immunity against a second infection for up to 10 months. If not complete protection, then the previous infection can at least lower the seriousness of future infection or keep it asymptomatic. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Covid-19 Forecasting Team, which conducted this study, included researchers from across the US. This study is marked as the largest review study of available data on this topic. It is because the study included an analysis of data collected from 65 studies conducted across 19 other countries. Through this meta-analysis, the researchers found out that the immunity offered by the first infection can protect the person against all variants of coronavirus. 

Dr. Chris Murray, the Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said that the first COVID-19 infection can offer a significant amount of immunity to the person, almost 90% even after 10 months, protecting them from serious infection and death associated with the infection, which means that the global population affected during the pandemic still have massive immunity against coronavirus infection. Many countries are still reporting a significant number of COVID-19 cases. The US is one such nation as it is still reporting around 40,000 COVID-19 cases per day. The US CDC has provided this data related to the infection. The agency has kept a close eye on the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

COVID-19 is indeed one of the unique infections which have shown some characteristics unseen by us in the past. Many viral infections are avoidable through a proper vaccination regime. It includes viral infections such as chickenpox, measles, and many others. These infections provide permanent immunity if the patient suffers from it at least once in their lifetime. But COVID-19 is different from these infections as vaccination against coronavirus can only protect for a limited period, generally 10 to 12 months. Thus, even though the study has found out that the infected person gets immunity for the next 10 months, they are still required to get the annual booster dose to get complete protection against the virus. Another thing to note regarding this study is that the study did not include data from the latest variant of COVID-19, the XBB variant. The XBB variant of COVID-19 is currently the most active variant of the virus, causing over 60% of total cases, as reported by CDC. 

Dr. Chris Murray said that a more detailed study is needed to identify the situation for newer variants of COVID-19. There is no sufficient data to understand the impact of the latest variants. However, he also made note of the fact that many researchers from the team believe that the impact of infection must be the same for all variants of coronavirus. He also said that people should not take this as advice to ignore booster doses. It is because natural immunity is subjective and based on the extent of infection. But in the case of vaccines, they have assured immunity, which provides far better protection.