BOSTON (CBS) – A new study published in Nature finds that many people who have been infected with the coronavirus may continue to make antibodies to the virus for most of their lives.

So what about people who are vaccinated? They probably do as well, but may be more vulnerable to variants.

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Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis followed 77 people who recovered from mostly mild cases of COVID-19 and identified antibody-producing cells that live in the bone marrow and can continue to produce antibodies for years.

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They also found early evidence that vaccination probably triggers production of the same cells. But there is concern that the emerging variants might blunt that response, which is why a booster shot will likely be needed for most of us.

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But people who have had COVID-19 and have been vaccinated may enjoy longer lasting protection.

Dr. Mallika Marshall