Coronavirus News Asia

Solving the paradox of Covid-19 immunity

While researchers around the world in some 20 countries are racing to find a vaccine for Covid-19, some scientists say the more we learn about this coronavirus, the more perilous our road may be to find a safe exit route.

Generally speaking, the expectation is that either we’ll fight off the virus and generate immunity, or researchers will develop a vaccine that will provide immunity. 

But that may not be the way things play out, according to a report from the CBC.

According to McMaster University immunologist Dawn Bowdish, research on how our immune system responds to other coronaviruses suggests that a vaccine or exposure to the virus may not provide the kind of lifelong immunity we get with the chickenpox vaccine. 

“What we expect based on what we’ve learned from other related viruses like SARS and MERS is that the immune response will likely fade,” she said.

The durability of immunity is critical to understand when it’s safe for recovered individuals to go back to work, especially if they’re on the front lines, the CBC report said. It’s also going to be essential for vaccine research to understand how long they might be protected. 

But there are paradoxes appearing as researchers seek to understand more about how to respond to this coronavirus. For one thing Bowdish said the strength of immune response in patients who died from Covid-19 looks very similar to the response in those who lived, the CBC report said.

“They had the same levels of antibodies, which are one feature that generally gets rid of a virus, but they also have one major difference in their immune response,” she cautioned.

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