Coronavirus Antibodies May Last Just Months: Study

TUESDAY, July 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Antibodies to the new coronavirus could last just a few months, researchers report.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the body to combat infection. This study of nearly 100 people in the UK found that antibody responses may start to decrease 20 to 30 days after the start of COVID-19 symptoms, CNN reported.

The researchers also concluded that the severity of COVID-19 symptoms can affect the degree of antibody response, according to the study released on the medical server medrxiv.org. It hasn't been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The World Health Organization has long said that people who've had COVID-19 aren't necessarily immune from being reinfected by the new coronavirus.

"This work confirms that protective antibody responses in those infected with SARS-COV2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, appear to wane rapidly. Whilst longer lasting in those with more severe disease, this is still only a matter of months," Stephen Griffins, an associate professor at the University of Leeds School who was not involved in the new study, said in a statement, CNN reported.

"Similar short-lived responses are seen against other human coronaviruses that predominantly cause only mild illness, meaning that we can be re-infected as time goes by and outbreaks can adopt seasonality. With the more serious, sometimes fatal, outcomes of SARS-COV2, this is troubling indeed," Griffins said. "Vaccines in development will either need to generate stronger and longer-lasting protection compared to natural infection, or they may need to be given regularly."

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