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Antibody levels in recovered COVID-19 patients decline quickly: research

  • The research found that of those who tested positive for the presence of the IgG antibody, over 90% showed sharp declines in two to three months
22 Jun 2020
Scientists work in VIDO-InterVac's (Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre) containment level 3 laboratory, where the organization is currently researching a vaccine for novel coronavirus, at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada October 18, 2019. Picture taken October 18, 2019.  David Stobbe/VIDO-InterVac/University of Saskatchewan/Handout via REUTERS.  NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. ORG XMIT: TOR501
Scientists work in VIDO-InterVac's (Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre) containment level 3 laboratory, where the organization is currently researching a vaccine for novel coronavirus, at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada October 18, 2019. Picture taken October 18, 2019. David Stobbe/VIDO-InterVac/University of Saskatchewan/Handout via REUTERS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. ORG XMIT: TOR501

(BEIJING) Levels of an antibody found in recovered COVID-19 patients fell sharply in 2-3 months after infection for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, according to a Chinese study, raising questions about the length of any immunity against the novel coronavirus.

The research, published in Nature Medicine on June 18, highlights the risks of using COVID-19 'immunity passports' and supports the prolonged use of public health interventions such as social distancing and isolating high-risk groups, researchers said.

Health authorities in some countries such as Germany are debating the ethics and practicalities of allowing people who test positive for antibodies to move more freely than others who don't.

The research, which studied 37 symptomatic patients and 37 asymptomatic patients, found that of those who tested positive for the presence of the IgG antibody, one of the main types of antibodies induced after infection, over 90% showed sharp declines in two to three months.

The median percentage decrease was more than 70% for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

For neutralising serum antibodies, the median percentage of decrease for symptomatic individuals was 11.7%, while for asymptomatic individuals it was 8.3%.

The study was conducted by researchers at Chongqing Medical University.

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