Coronavirus News | COVID-19 antibodies may disappear within few months, suggests study
New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: In another worrying news related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, researchers from King’s College in London said that the patients who recover from COVID-19 may lose their antibodies within months and can get reinfected with the deadly virus.
Terming the research as a "significant" influence on how governments manage the pandemic, King’s College researchers, examined the levels of antibodies in more than 90 confirmed virus patients and how they changed over time.
Blood tests conducted on patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms also mounted some immune response to the virus. Of the total samples, 60 per cent showed a "potent" viral response in the first few weeks after infection. However, after three months, the COVID-19 antibodies were only maintained in 16.7 per cent of the samples, and after 90 days several patients even lost the antibodies in their bloodstream.
When the body encounters an external danger such as a virus, it mobilises cells to track down and kill the culprit. As it does so, it produces proteins known as antibodies that are programmed to target the specific antigen the body is fighting, like a key cut for a particular lock. As long as someone has enough antibodies, they will be able to snub out new infections, giving them immunity.
But the research done by King’s College researchers depicts that the antibodies may not last more than a few months, and cannot be taken for granted.
The researchers also said that the latest findings can change how the governments around the world are managing the pandemic and planning for its next phase. They also said that this research will also be significant in funding and organising vaccine research and development.
"This is an important study that starts to define the longer-term dynamics of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2," said Lawrence Young, professor of Molecular Oncology at the University of Warwick, as reported by AFP.
"It further emphasises the need for us to better understand what a protective immune response looks like if we are to develop an effective vaccine," added Young, who was not involved in the research.
James Gill, an honorary Clinical Lecturer at Warwick Medical School, said the research reiterated the need for everyone to continue taking measures to mitigate the virus spreading, particularly at the start of Europe's holiday season.
"In the same way that these patients were surprised to have antibodies to COVID19, we should NOT be surprised if any protective benefit is mild, or at least transient," he said according to AFP.
"If you played the lottery and won £10, you wouldn't immediately think that you had acquired increased natural luck, and used your life savings to buy further lottery tickets. Even those with a positive antibody test -- especially those who cannot account for where they may have been exposed -- should continue to use caution, social distancing and appropriate mask use," he added.
(With Agency Inputs)
Posted By: Talib Khan