After analyzing the immune response to COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in more than 90 patients, including healthcare workers, a team of researchers from King’s College London found that the levels antibodies that the human body produces following an infection can only decrease after a few months, making the immune response itself weaker or even more effective.
Researchers confirm that antibodies can destroy the virus even up to three weeks after symptoms of infection appear, but they also found that only 17% of those tested could maintain the same level of potency of the antibodies until three months after infection.
Antibody levels, in three months, could drop as much as 23 times and in some cases even become undetectable, as reported by the Guardian which resumes the study which has only appeared on MedRxiv for now (therefore, as far as we know, not yet peer reviewed).
If the levels of antibodies that kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus decrease over time, it means that the same virus can infect people several times a year, more or less like colds or annual flu.
According to Katie Doores, researcher at King’s College and lead author of the study, people infected with SARS CoV-2 produce an antibody response to the virus, but this response seems to decrease in a period considered to be short (a few months).
It is also an important study with regard to the possible development of a vaccine and, in general, for all research on the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the related pathology COVID-19.
“If the infection gives you antibody levels that drop in two or three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same,” says Doores, suggesting that the vaccines may not protect for long periods of time during regular seasonal waves.
According to the Guardian, this is the first study at King’s College to analyze and examine antibody levels in patients infected with the same SARS CoV-2 for three months after the onset of symptoms.