ST. PETERSBURG, October 22. /TASS/. The novel coronavirus SARS CoV-2 is not a highly mutable one, so there are sufficient reasons to expect that immunity acquired as a result of vaccination or in a natural way will be long-term, the director of the St. Petersburg-based Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Areg Totolyan, said in an interview on Thursday.
"Annual vaccination against flu is required in view of the virus’ high mutability, a quality not observed in SARS CoV-2. There are sufficient reasons to believe that the immunity acquired in a natural way, just as post-vaccination immunity is likely to last," Totolyan said.
According to the Pasteur Institute’s statistics Totolyan cited former COVID-19 patients developed antibodies that remained at a high level for a period of four months. At this point it is the longest period of observation. In some former patients (up to 20%) the level of antibodies declined to a level undetectable by the available test systems. Totolyan remarked, though, that the decline in the amount of antibodies did not mean the immunity was gone, because the memory cells and cells that produce antibodies are still there and can provide immunity protection against future infections.
"In asymptomatic patients the generation of antibodies is observed, too, but they are less stable and may turn undetectable in four to six weeks. In this connection it is extremely essential to study cell immunity in such patients in order to find out if they have cell immunity or not," Totolyan said.
According to the latest statistics, over 41,544,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 1,137,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 30,942,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, 1,463,306 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,107,988 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 25,242 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.