A recent study conducted by researchers from King’s College London shows that Covid antibodies within individuals can last for only three months. This means that a person infected with the disease may lose his acquired immunity within 90 days only.
Results From The Study
The research led by Dr Katie Doores studied the immune response in more than 90 virus patients. They analysed the levels of antibodies over time. Results show that the level of antibodies peaked within 3 weeks after the infection and then starts declining.
Antibodies are the proteins in the blood that help the immune system in fighting any disease. In the study, it was seen that 60% of the patients, produced a potent antibody response in their first few weeks of battle. But after 3 months, only 17% retained high levels of them whereas, in many patients, antibodies become undetectable in the bloodstream.
“People are producing a reasonable antibody response to the virus but it’s waning over a short period of time and depending on how high your peak is, that determines how long the antibodies are staying around”, Dr Doores told The Guardian.
The study conducted by King’s College London is the first “longitudinal” research on Covid patients and health workers. The duration of the study was from March to June. It has been submitted to a journal and is yet to be peer-reviewed.
Impact On Vaccine Development
The results from the study suggest that even if a vaccine is developed, people might not be completely safe from the virus. Prof Robin Shattock of Imperial College said that the study shows “the uncertainty regarding vaccine protection and its duration”. “Vulnerable people may also require annual boosting immunizations to maintain antibodies”, he added.
A similar study was published in Nature Medicine last month. It also suggested that antibodies in patients could last for only two-three months. The research was carried out in Wanzhou District of China.
Overall, the study is going to have huge implications on how we fight the disease. This includes the concept of Herd Immunity and other strategies taken up by various governments.
Written By Shiwangi, She is doing her Masters in Mass Communication from GGS IP University, New Delhi.