FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) - COVID-19 vaccines have been developed at record speed.

Now, Connecticut researchers are trying to get a better understanding of how long immunity to COVID lasts and the impact age plays.

The research could impact generations to come.

“Why is it as we age that we respond less well to infection and we respond less well to vaccination?” asked Dr. Jacques Banchereau, The Jackson Laboratory.

It’s the fundamental question researchers at UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory in Farmington are trying to understand: How does aging impact responsiveness to different vaccines, like the COVID-19 one?

Scientists are now taking a closer look at how people respond to the COVID vaccine over time.

“[We’re looking at] deep insight into how their immune system was before being exposed to vaccine and then how they responded to the vaccine,” said Dr. George Kuchel, UConn Center on Aging.

Researchers at the two institutions teamed up to look for relatively healthy people over the age of 21 who haven’t had COVID and haven’t been vaccinated yet, but plan on getting vaccinated soon.

Over the course of two months, scientists will ask participants questions and draw blood to measure the production of antibodies.

That’ll be measured at different points after participants have been vaccinated.

For several years, the UConn Center on Aging and The Jackson Laboratory for genomic medicine have been answering questions regarding the impact of age on the immune system.

With this new study, they’re now digging deeper into how long COVID immunity lasts as well as the type and quality of immune responses.

Researchers have said that one of the problems with the virus is that the immunity seems to disappear, which makes people sensitive to potential reinfection. 

Banchereau and Kuchel said the study is a pilot and in the initial stages. The plan is for it to become a much larger study.

They said information they can gain from it  is going to be vitally important in terms of approaching not just this virus, but also the next one.

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