Reports of Fading Antibodies? It's Complicated

If last week's King’s College London study indicating that antibodies in COVID-19 patients vanished 2 months post-infection discouraged you, Derek Thompson offers a comforting perspective.

Kind of.

3 reasons we might not be doomed:

  • Our immune system is a mysterious place, and the KCL study looked at only one part—excluding T-cells—“like inventorying a national air force but leaving out the bomber jets.”

  • Studies on patients at least 6 months post-infection are needed to really know.

  • Low-level antibodies can prime the immune system for a more powerful response later. (Thompson’s brilliant analogy is the memory recall that helps you solve a Rubik’s Cube faster the second time.)

The Quote: “We are still facing a dangerous disease and learning more every week, but the immune system is a big, complicated place. No single study looking at one part of that big, complicated place should convince you that a vaccine is doomed and the pandemic will be with us forever.”

The Atlantic

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