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COVID-19 immunity shows signs of endurance

December 1, 2020

Person wearing mask for COVID-19

Some good news to be grateful for: New evidence suggests that COVID-19 immunity could last a long time after infection or vaccination – months, years, maybe even decades. That’s a good sign for the  vaccination programs expected to commence in coming months.

Eight months after infection, most recovered patients had enough immune cells to fend off the disease, the New York Times reported last week. Although the new research hasn’t been peer reviewed, the Times called it  “the most comprehensive and long-ranging study of immune memory to the coronavirus to date.”

“That amount of [immune system] memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years,” Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology, who co-led the new study, told the Times.

The study involved collecting blood samples from 185 recovered patients, 38 of whom provided multiple samples over many months. The newspaper cited two more studies that support the concept of longer-term immunity thanks to memory cells that prepare patients’ bodies to encounter the virus again.

Progress depends on human biospecimens

As this research shows, specimen samples from COVID-19 patients are critical in understanding the disease, including post-infection immunity. This quest was behind the CDC’s decision in May to procure 600 blood collections from COVID-19 patients via iSpecimen.

Since then, we’ve provided the CDC and others with blood samples, swabs and other biospecimens from a range of patients in diverse circumstances, including during their hospital stays. As part of this work, we’ve partnered in a mobile phlebotomy service to collect samples from recovered patients at their homes.

COVID-19 samples can be challenging to collect, manage and ship, but their availability and quality are essential in advancing research, vaccines and treatments to help the world return to the pre-pandemic normal, or something close, as quickly as we can. Too often medical researchers have had to delay or curtail their research because specimens are hard to procure.

Whether their research target is COVID-19 or something else, it’s our mission to solve that procurement problem once and for all.

Learn about the iSpecimen Marketplace where you can browse millions of richly annotated, de-identified human tissue and biofluid biospecimens, in addition to hematopoietic and immune cell products and COVID-19 samples. You can join for free and creating a login is easy. Request a quote or custom collection today.