Coronavirus immunity could be gone in a matter of months, study finds
Monday, 13 July 2020
Antibody-based immunity to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) mostly disappears within a few months, according to a new British study published on Monday.
“This work confirms that protective antibody responses in those infected” with coronavirus “appear to wane rapidly,” commented Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine.
“Whilst longer lasting in those with more severe disease, this is still only a matter of months,” he said.
Vaccines will need to “generate stronger and longer lasting protection compared to natural infection, or they may need to be given regularly,” Griffin added.
“If your infection is giving you antibody levels that wane in two to three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same thing,” said Dr Katie Doores, the study’s lead author, in The Guardian, adding that “one shot may not be sufficient.”
The study from King’s College London, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, has been posted on the medrxiv website.
The researchers studied the immune response of more than 90 confirmed cases (65 of which were confirmed by virological tests) and showed that the levels of neutralising antibodies, capable of destroying the virus, peak on average about three weeks after the onset of symptoms and then decline rapidly.
Only 16.7% of subjects still had high levels of neutralising antibodies 65 days after the onset of symptoms.