Those who contract the novel coronavirus and recover may only have protective antibodies for a few months following a COVID-19 infection, according to a study published this week.
Researchers from China found that those who recover from the virus may only have protective antibodies for two to three months following infection, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Nature Medicine.
Researchers studying coronavirus patients in the Wanzhou District of China compared the antibody response of 37 asymptomatic people to that of 37 symptomatic people. By the end, the researchers found that about 81 percent of asymptomatic people had a reduction in neutralizing antibodies, while only 62 percent of symptomatic patients reported the same.
What’s more, about 40 percent of asymptomatic people became seronegative for coronavirus antibodies, meaning their antibodies fell to undetectable levels. Meanwhile, only 12.9 percent of symptomatic patients became seronegative.
"We observed that IgG levels and neutralizing antibodies in a high proportion of individuals who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection start to decrease within 2–3 months after infection," the researchers wrote.
“These data suggest that asymptomatic individuals had a weaker immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The reduction in IgG and neutralizing antibody levels in the early convalescent phase might have implications for immunity strategy and serological surveys,” the researchers concluded.
Researchers studying the novel disease are still working to determine the level of neutralizing antibodies that are necessary to know if someone is no longer at risk. It’s also currently unknown for what period of time someone who has recovered from a COVID-19 infection may have immunity against the novel coronavirus.