As coronavirus continues to push scientists and medical experts, to find a cure, numerous new studies are being regularly birthed towards immunity. In America, two new studies emerged: an immune response experiment and a DNA vaccine protection study, both evaluating in rhesus macaques.
From Oregon Health and Science University, scientists tested 9 adult rhesus macaques with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and evaluated re-exposure the following month.
These primates have the closest physiology and immune systems to humans and therefore hold promising results in all kinds of vaccine testing against COVID-19.
However, Jacob Estes, one of the study's authors said that 'while these monkeys are a very good approximation of humans, they're not humans.' He goes on to explain that the genetic structure of humans contains more variables when it comes to severe diseases.
Studying the infection, the medical experts assessed immunity as well as pathology and virology.
All 9 subjects were evident with viral pneumonia, neutropenia, and lymphopenia with symptoms such as decreased appetite. However, they did not seem to experience respiratory distress, weight loss, nor mortality.
After 35 days of initial infection, the macaques were re-challenged with the same doses of SARS-CoV-2.
Evidence in their RNA showed lower rates of infection, as well as 'little or no clinical disease, was observed in the animals following rechallenge,' the study notes.
For humans, it could mean that patients who have recovered and re-acquire the virus would most likely not infect others and have low levels of COVID-19 antibodies.
The conclusion to the experiments records that individuals who have recovered from coronavirus typically develop antibody responses specific to the virus which provides 'robust protective immunity against re-exposure.'
History of Immunity
Despite hopeful progress, the researchers still noted that 'additional research will be required to define the durability of natural immunity.'
Sarah Henrickson from the Children's Hospital of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy Immunology in Pennsylvania conducted a study about human immunology history.
Henrickson states that 20 years ago when SARS-CoV caused its first worldwide epidemic, public health strategies contained the spread of the virus, 'without a successful vaccine or targeted therapy.'
She goes into depth of focusing on the behavioral patterns between the virus and its host during infection. However, the general focus of her study contains limitations on necessary data to understand how coronavirus affects human immunity,
Much Remains Uncertain
There had also been other studies attempting to answer the question if re-infection is possible. Last week, a study challenged the timeline of immunity.
This is especially challenging since many people remain asymptomatic to the virus.
A study of reinfection on 10 male subjects from older forms of coronavirus was also conducted.
For 3 years, frequent reinfection would occur as early as 6 months after the previous infection, according to the study at the University of Amsterdam.
Reliable antibody testing is still necessary to help prevent the continuous spread of COVID-19.
Efforts include Oxford's new portable antibody testing device and their movements toward human trials for vaccines.
What remains uncertain is that without additional research, the rest of the world continues to wait for a definite answer to the question - when will humans have lasting immunity against coronavirus?