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Real Life Wellness-Memory B and T Cells … How long do they last?

As most of you know, I’ve been writing articles about different aspects of the Pandemic for almost two years. I have taken great care to provide you with my personal experience and research on COVID-19. If I have learned anything throughout this entire process, it is that everyone has their own view and are entitled to make their own decisions. 

My decisions are based on my training, experience, research, and the conversations I have with people I know and trust. Everyone reading this has that same right. This article is my attempt to provide you with more information you can ponder from the questions I’m asked from people who I help in my office every day. But remember…your mind, your choice.

Your Immune system is an extremely complex system which has evolved over millions of years to fight off every type of invader. It creates antibodies from different types of immune cells depending on the invader. One major question I hear is “How long is my ability to produce antibodies to kill the virus?” after they get vaccinated or infected with COVID-19.

The answer lies in Immune cells called Memory B and T cells. Simply put, when you get vaccinated or get an infection (this is true of any kind of infection…not just COVID-19), your Immune system goes to work to fight the invader and kill it. During the fight, different types of killer cells are made in the Bone Marrow and become activated in different glands of the body. Some of those cells survive the fight and become surplus or “extra” cells. These cells become your Memory cells for that infection.

These Memory cells continue to circulate throughout your body and lymphatic system for three to six months. They will continue to produce antibodies, if needed, but will decrease over time because they aren’t needed anymore. But what has not been emphasized is the population of Memory cells that become embedded in the lymph nodes, tonsils, specialized immune tissue in your gut and in your Thymus glands. These cells, once they are embedded in the tissues, live in these areas, and can be activated to produce those specific antibodies for as long as you live.

In other words, your Memory B and T cells lie dormant until that same invader particle floats through that lymph node again. Once these cells detect these same particles again, they will begin to produce antibodies for that specific invading particle by the billions! 

More good news is that even if the new invading particle are slightly different than the original invader (like the Omicron is from the Delta variant of COVID-19), those antibodies will begin to do their best to attack and kill the new variant. 

Variants are a natural occurrence with any infectious agent. The only way an infecting invader can attempt to avoid being killed by your immune system is by slightly changing its genetics to avoid detection. Fortunately, as infectious agents morph into new versions, they generally get weaker. This is what happened with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

This pandemic has ended. COVID-19 has already become endemic (which means it will be with us forever). But your Immune system has been killing and adapting to new and different invaders for literally millions of years. Trust it. 

With all the avenues (rising infection and vaccination rates) currently available to provide your Immune system with the COVID-19 blueprint, it won’t be long before everyone has antibodies, and this infection will be like every other viral infection. It will simply give you a reason to stay home for a few days and get over it.

I’m definitely ready for that!

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