Antibody-based immunity, acquired after recovery from covid-19, may disappear in a few months. This according to a new study, which could complicate the development of an effective long-term vaccine.
“This work confirms that protective antibody responses in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 (…) appear to decline rapidly,” Stephen Griffin, an associate professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine in the UK, said Monday.
“Vaccines under development should either provide stronger and longer-lasting protection against natural infections or be administered regularly,” added the doctor, who was not involved in the study.
“If the infection provides levels of antibodies that decrease in two to three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same thing and a single injection may not be enough,” Katie Doores, the study’s lead author, explained to The Guardian.
The study from King’s College, London, which has not yet been peer reviewed, was published on the medrxiv website.
The researchers studied the immune response of more than 90 confirmed cases (including 65 by virological tests) and show that the neutralizing antibody levels, capable of destroying the virus, reach their average peak around three weeks after the onset of symptoms, after decrease rapidly.
According to blood tests, even individuals with mild symptoms had an immune response to the virus, but generally less than in the more severe forms. Only 16.7% of individuals still had high levels of neutralizing antibodies 65 days after the onset of symptoms.
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