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Current Affairs

Anti-bodies fade quickly in recovering Covid-19 patients

Date: 20 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

 Antibody levels in the blood of COVID-19 patients drop rapidly during the weeks after their bodies have cleared the novel coronavirus, and symptoms have subsided, according to a study. 

 

Details

  • In the absence of approved, effective treatments for COVID-19, some hospitals have been treating patients with severe symptoms with blood plasma from recovering patients.

  • If convalescent plasma is ultimately shown to have a clear benefit, it needs to be collected during a specific window of time after recovery.

  • However, recovering patients can’t donate blood until at least 14 days after symptoms have subsided, to give the body time to clear viral particles.

  • The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 plays a crucial role in helping the virus grab and invade host cells.

  • Antibodies produced by the body’s immune system bind to a part of this protein and block the capacity to engage with the host’s cell, preventing the viral particle from infecting a cell host.

  • Previous studies suggest that antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein peak 2 or 3 weeks after the onset of symptoms. 

  • The researchers observed variation on the level of individual patients but identified a consistent overall signal.

  • The levels of Immunoglobulins G, A, and M that target the binding site decreased between 6 and 10 weeks after symptoms began.

  • During the same time period, the ability of the antibodies to neutralise the virus similarly fell, according to the researchers.

  • Understanding how the levels of antibodies change over time is critical not only for optimising the use of convalescent plasma but also for understanding vaccine efficacy and whether or not previously infected people are at risk of re-infection.