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Covid-19 antibodies will decrease over time, but experts say there is no reason to panic



Experts say that even if the coronavirus antibody weakens over time, it may provide protection against reinfection. Experts say that people should not be stunned by the seemingly contradictory latest research.

Antibodies and other immune responses have always been the main focus of coronavirus research because they have important implications for how long people can be protected before a vaccine is available. For example, if antibodies can provide lasting immunity, they can protect infected people until a viable vaccine is available. But the reduction in antibodies may mean that Covid-19 survivors may be at risk of re-infection.

Due to the differences in findings, two studies published this week caused some confusion. A paper published in the journal Science led by scientists in New York found that Covid-1

9 antibodies produced by the immune system have hovered at a stable level for about five months. But two days ago, a preprint study that had not yet been peer-reviewed found that among the thousands of participants in England, antibody levels dropped rapidly, dropping by more than 26% in a three-month period.

Most experts believe that antibody levels will decline over time, and these declines have not fully attracted people’s attention.

Ritesh Tandon, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said: “If you consider basic immunology, first an antibody response should occur, and then the antibody response will disappear.” “Antibodies are dynamic-they are not made all at once and stay in the blood.”

The top infectious disease expert in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, agrees, adding that the decline in antibody levels does not necessarily mean a lack of immunity.

He said at a press conference at the National Institutes of Health on Thursday: “Just because antibody levels are falling, it doesn’t mean you lose protection.”

In the latest study published in the journal Science, researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai used the immune response database of 30,000 New Yorkers who tested positive for the coronavirus between March and October and 121 volunteers were monitored over time.

The researchers found that the antibody response peaked approximately two to three months after infection. Dr. Ania Warnberg, associate professor of the Icahn School of Medicine and co-author of the Mount Sinai study, said that in 90% of the recovered, antibody levels subsequently declined, but remained stable for about five months.

She said: “Most patients have a relatively strong response. So far, this response has continued.”

In a British study, scientists at Imperial College London found that the prevalence of antibodies in British participants dropped from 6% at the end of June to 4.4% in September. The researchers used home tests assigned to more than 365,000 people and observed a drop of more than 26% in antibody levels within three months.

But the British research has limitations. Although the study had thousands of participants, over time, the researchers did not focus on the same person. The study also did not accurately measure antibody levels.

Alan Wu, a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said: “The sensitivity between these two tests is a major difference.” “In a sense, research is not done in the same way. It’s a bit like apples and oranges.”

Dr. Arturo Casadevall, head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, believes that although the results of the two studies seem to be divergent, they are both correct. He said that if a person’s antibody level drops rapidly after recovery, and then continues at a lower level for a period of time, it is not unreasonable or particularly shocking.

Casadevall said: “We know that other coronaviruses tend to cause the problem of impervious immunity.” “The question is: how many antibodies do you need to prevent reinfection? Maybe you only need very few things.”

Nevertheless, antibodies are not the only weapon in the immune system’s arsenal. There are some cellular immune responses that can recognize viruses and provide some protective immunity. People infected with the virus usually also produce “memory cells”, which can recall certain pathogens and quickly mobilize the ability to defend against reinfection.

Cassadeville said: “Antibody immunity is only part of immunity.” “If you have an immune memory, it means that if you face the coronavirus again, your body does not need two weeks to know what to do. A reaction. That kind of memory can begin immediately.”

Tandon said that there is currently no easy way to detect memory cells and cellular immune responses in recovered patients, but this is an active area of ​​research. He added that so far, the immune response to the coronavirus is more or less consistent with other known coronaviruses.

Denton said: “It does work in accordance with the rules of immunology. It is not a foreign virus. We don’t seem to know anything about it.” “I didn’t find anything that made me think it was something that we saw before. The virus is a completely different virus.”




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