Antibodies that provide protection against COVID-19 may be viable for months after infection, according to new research from Iceland.
Scientists measured the levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the blood of approximately 30,000 study participants, including 1,200 who tested positive for the virus and recovered.
They found 91.1% of those who had recovered from COVID-19 had antibodies against the virus months after infection. Their results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
According to Nature, those protective antibodies actually rose during two months after diagnosis and remained at high levels for an extended period of time.
“Our results indicate that antiviral antibodies against SARs-CoV-2 did not decline within 4 months of diagnosis,” wrote the authors.
This good news comes after a study conducted at King’s College London found that the levels of antibodies of recovered COVID-19 people waned after infection. According to The Daily Caller, researchers analyzed the blood of infected patients and healthcare workers and found that the levels of protective antibodies peaked about three weeks after the first symptoms of COVID-19 appeared. However, those antibodies were found in only 17% of the patients three months later.
The Icelandic researchers found that antibody levels were higher in older persons and those who were severely sick with the virus. Women, who tend to fare better with COVID-19, had fewer antibodies. Antibody levels of SARS-Cov-2 were also lower in smokers, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers said that while their findings were encouraging, there has yet to be a proven connection between antibody response and protection against reinfection of SARS-CoV-2 in humans, although there has been a positive response in rhesus monkeys.
According to Nature, they warned that people in Iceland which had an initial 0.9% rate of preliminary infection, may be particularly vulnerable to a second wave of the virus.
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