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FRIDAY, May 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly all people who've been infected with the new coronavirus have antibodies to it, according to a new study.
The antibodies could provide these people with some protection against reinfection by the new coronavirus, possibly making it safe for them to return to work. However, it's unclear how long this protection might last, The New York Times reported.
The Mount Sinai findings were posted online on Tuesday but hasn't been reviewed by experts.
The study included 624 people who'd tested positive for the new coronavirus, recovered and volunteered to donate convalescent plasma -- coronavirus antibodies extracted from the blood, The Times reported.
The analysis was conducted on the first set of donors in the project, which has enrolled 15,000 people so far, said study leader Dr. Ania Wajnberg. Only 3% of these first donors were seen in an emergency department or hospitalized, while the rest had only mild or moderate symptoms.
Of the 624 people tested, 511 had high antibody levels, 42 had low levels and 71 had none. However, 64 participants who initially had low or no antibody levels were retested more than a week later and all but three had at least some antibodies, The Times reported.
That suggests that when people are tested for antibodies can significantly affect the results, according to the researchers.
"We weren't looking exactly at this, but we had enough to say that 14 days is probably a little too early," Wajnberg told The Times.
Levels of antibodies were even different at 24 days compared with 20 days, which suggests that the ideal time for an antibody test is long after the start of symptoms, according to Wajnberg.
"What we're telling people now is at least three weeks after symptom onset," Wajnberg told The Times.
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