According to a new study, immunity to the coronavirus may last years. This comes as a welcome answer to this question that has shadowed plans for the widespread vaccination. Months after the infection, most recovered people have strong immune cells to fight the virus and halt the possibility of contracting the virus again.

According to a report in the New York Times, the slow rate of decline suggests that the immune cells stay in the body for a long time.

The publication quoted research, which was published online but has not been reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

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“That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years,” NYT quoted said Shane Crotty as saying. Crotty is a virologist at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology, who co-led the new study.

Another key finding of the study suggests that the survivors of SARS still have immune cells 17 years after recovering.

The findings are consistent with encouraging evidence emerging from other labs.

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Researchers at the University of Washington, led by immunologist Marion Pepper, have previously shown that certain “memory” cells formed after coronavirus infection persist in the body for at least three months.

According to a media report, research published last week also found that individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 have strong and defensive killer immune cells, even when antibodies are not detectable.

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These studies “are all by and large painting the same picture, which is that once you get past those first few critical weeks, the rest of the response looks pretty conventional,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona.