The COVID-19 antibodies, proteins that help humans fight off the virus, last for at least four months and do not fade quickly, scientists in Iceland said after in an exhaustive study of coronavirus immunity.
The results of the study are encouraging for vaccine efforts aiming to trigger an immune response that produces antibodies to protect against the virus.
The new study “provides hope that host immunity to this unpredictable and highly contagious virus may not be fleeting and may be similar to that elicited by most other viral infections,” wrote two doctors from Harvard University and the US National Institutes of Health in a commentary posted alongside the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study authors, who are affiliated with deCODE Genetics in Reykjavik, analysed more than 30,000 people in Iceland where about 15% of the population had been tested for coronavirus.
Over 90% of people who had tested positive by a laboratory PCR test (nearly 2,000 of the individuals), tested positive for antibodies twice and continued to have antibodies 120 days after infection, the authors said, A positive result was determined by two positive antibody tests.
Importantly, people who had been hospitalised for COVID-19 with a more severe form developed antibodies more quickly.