Not So Immune?

Immunity to the novel coronavirus may not be as complete and long lasting as hoped for, according to new 2 studies—1 with a small number of participants and another that hasn’t been peer reviewed.

Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 may last only 2 to 3 months, especially for asymptomatic people, according to a new study published yesterday in Nature Medicine as reported by The New York Times.

In comparing 37 asymptomatic people with others who were symptomatic, researchers said the asymptomatic patients had a weaker response and were more likely to have antibodies drop to an undetectable level.

Reassuring News: Even at low levels, however, neutralizing antibodies can still provide protection. 

In a larger, though not-yet peer-reviewed study, scientists tested 23,000+ samples from hospital workers, believing at 25% could have been infected with the virus early in the outbreak, however only 4% had developed antibodies as of April, the South China Morning Post reports.

The Implications: “People are unlikely to produce long-lasting protective antibodies against this virus,” the researchers said. 

Less Fraught News: A Mayo Clinic Proceedings study of 20,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients demonstrated yesterday that convalescent plasma is safe and showed some effectiveness though the research wasn’t a clinical trial, The Washington Post reports. The procedure relies on antibodies from recovered patients to treat patients.

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