Coronavirus Antibodies May Not Last Long: Study

FRIDAY, June 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Even if people develop antibodies after infection with the new coronavirus, they may last only two to three months, and decline more in those who didn't have symptoms, a new study suggests.

The researchers said their findings show the need to be cautious about the idea of "immunity certificates" for people who have recovered from infection, The New York Times reported.

A number of studies have shown that most people infected with the new coronavirus develop antibodies to it, but it wasn't known how long the antibodies last.

They study was conducted in China and included 37 infected people with symptoms and 37 without symptoms. Antibodies -- protective proteins produced in response to an infection -- fell to undetectable levels in 40% of asymptomatic people, compared with 13% of symptomatic people, according to the study in the journal Nature Medicine.

Several experts said the findings don't necessarily mean that people with low levels of antibodies to the new coronavirus can be infected a second time, The Times reported.

It's believed that antibodies to other coronaviruses, including those that cause SARS and MERS, are believed to last about a year, and it was hoped that antibodies to the new coronavirus might endure at least as long.

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