Nearly All Recovered COVID-19 Patients Produce Antibodies: Study

These results could have important implications for our understanding of COVID-19 reinfection and immunity.

Updated
Coronavirus
2 min read
These results could have important implications for our understanding of COVID-19 reinfection and immunity.
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A recent study has found that all patients who recover from COVID-19 eventually produce antibodies against the novel coronavirus.

Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the research looked at 285 patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 illness in China and concluded that within 19 days of the infection, each and every one of them had developed antibodies that may protect them from reinfection.

These results could have important implications for our understanding of reinfection and immunity with regards to the disease that has affected nearly 4,000,000 people globally.

Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health Director, wrote in a blog post that the study “brings much-needed clarity, along with renewed enthusiasm, to efforts to develop and implement widescale antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2”, reported The Hill.

“Although more follow-up work is needed to determine just how protective these antibodies are and for how long, these findings suggest that the immune systems of people who survive COVID-19 have been primed to recognize SARS-CoV-2 and possibly thwart a second infection,” he added.

Another study, that is yet to be reviewed by experts, similarly found that regardless of age, sex or severity of illness, almost everybody who had the disease developed antibodies, looking at 1,343 people in and around New York City, reported The New York Times.

While the presence of antibodies is a pleasant development, questions regarding the duration, that is, how long this immunity lasts, still need to be answered. Policy decisions such as issuing immunity transports would have to be based on this information.

The research raises hope for the potential of antibody tests which indicate if a person had contracted the disease in the past in order to map the extent of its spread.

In order to boost the capacity, India had imported 5 lakh test kits from two Chinese companies, which were further distributed to various states. But because they were not up to the mark (‘wide variation’ in their performance), the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asked the states and union territories to stop using the rapid antibody COVID-19 testing kits.

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