DETROIT – Many people want to know if booster COVID shots will be needed in the future.
A paper published Monday in the Journal Nature indicates that the need might be further off than many initially thought.
The human immune system is made of a complex arsenal of different weapons against all manner of invaders meant to do harm. Those invaders include bacteria and viruses.
Some of the tools many people are familiar with include antibodies, which are relatively easy to measure and can be a good marker of how well protected we are against COVID.
Antibodies are not the only protection. Humans also make different cells that may be the key to long-lasting protection.
When you receive a vaccine, your immune system trains to respond using a number of different tactics. So far the antibody response to the COVID-19 vaccines has been good, but it will likely decline over many months, providing less protection.
The study published by Journal Nature looked at a different weapon bodies can use against the virus once it’s trained by a vaccine. That weapon is called B cells. They are important to developing long-lasting antibody responses.
The researchers found special areas called germinal centers, in the lymph nodes of vaccinated people, that were producing and refining these b cells.
This and other papers looking at the long-term cellular memory of the immune response to the COVID-19 vaccines and suggest that our protection, at least against severe disease, may be very long lasting.