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Strong antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 in most people

Date: 30 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A vast majority of individuals infected with mild-to-moderate COVID 19 show a relative amount of anti-body response and are stable for at least 4-5 months, according to a study.

 

Background

The research found that this antibody response correlates with the body’s ability to neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

 

Details

  • While reports have come out saying antibodies to this virus go away quickly, research found that more than 90% of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralise the virus, and the response is maintained for many months.

  • Uncovering the robustness of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, including its longevity and neutralising effects, is critically important to enabling us to effectively monitor seroprevalence in communities.

  • To screen individuals, the scientists used an antibody test called an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect the virus’ telltale spike protein which enables it to attach and gain entry into our cells.

  • Based on the findings, the scientists said a vast majority of positive individuals had moderate-to-high levels of antibodies that can neutralise the coronavirus spike protein.

  • The scientists then recalled 121 recovered COVID-19 patients for repeat antibody testing at approximately three and five months post-symptom onset.

  • They saw a slight drop in the antibody levels in these individuals from the first to second testing time point, and another drop for the last testing time point.

  • This indicated that a moderate level of antibody is retained by most people five months after symptom-onset.

  • The sustained antibody levels that we subsequently observed are likely produced by long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow. 

  • Although this cannot provide conclusive evidence that these antibody responses protect from re-infection, the researchers believe the antibodies could decrease the odds of getting reinfected, and may attenuate disease in the case of breakthrough infection.