A team of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai made a promising discovery in the fight against COVID-19. After looking at the antibody responses of more than 30,000 patients, they found that 90% of the people who recovered keep a stable antibody response.
"While some reports have come out saying antibodies to this virus go away quickly, we have found just the opposite -- that more than 90% of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralize the virus, and the response is maintained for many months,"Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who led the study team, said in a statement.
The researchers also tested 121 patients who donated plasma three and five months after recovering. They found that while there was a drop off in the number of some antibodies, others remained in their systems.
"The sustained antibody levels that we subsequently observed are likely produced by long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow. This is similar to what we see in other viruses and likely means they are here to stay," Dr. Ania Wajnberg, director of Clinical Antibody Testing at the Mount Sinai Hospital, said. "We will continue to follow this group over time to see if these levels remain stable as we suspect and hope they will."
The results of the study are promising, especially for the development of a vaccine.
"We know from work with common human coronaviruses that neutralizing antibodies are induced, and these antibodies can last for years and provide protection from reinfection or attenuate disease, even if individuals get reinfected," the researchers wrote.
They cautioned that they need to do more research to see how long the immunity will last.
"It is still unclear if infection with SARS-CoV-2 in humans protects from reinfection and for how long."
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