A research study has demonstrated that specific response to SARS-CoV-2 by T-cell remains in the body after infection, so as to provide immunity in cases of re-infection.
There’s been no clarity as to the ability of SARS-CoV-2 infection to cause immunological memory and provide protection upon reinfection. A number of research studies conducted reveal that, antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 only persist in the blood for a few months in COVID-19 survival and may therefore only provide temporary protection against re-infection.
This new study conducted by a team of researchers at University of Freiburg Medical Center Germany has been able to demonstrate the formation and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 immune cells in the body. It is believed that these immune cells are capable of accelerating immune cell response in case of re-infection.
A group of SARS-CoV-2 specific CD8+T-cell epitopes were classified as either optimal or dominant. In other to observe, rapid induction, extended contraction and emergence of heterogenous and functionally competent cross-reactive and induced memory CD8+T-cell responses, high-resolution ex vivo analysis of pre-existing and induced specific CD8+T-cells was conducted using a peptide-loaded major histocompatibility complex class I (pMHCI) tetramer technology.
The team stated that coronavirus-specific memory CD8+T-cell demonstrated functional characteristics comparable to influenza-specific CD8+T-cell and possibility to detect them in COVID-19 convalescence was high amongst individuals who were seronegative for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
These CD8+T-cells were not different in appearance when compared against those found after a flu infection. This led to the conclusion that survivors of SARS-CoV-2 infection possess some level of protection against re-infection with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The results of this study were defined as cross-reactive and induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+T-cell responses as potential indicators of immune protection in mild novel coronavirus infection. Furthermore it was concluded that immunity against the virus can be achieved after an infection.