People who survive serious COVID-19 infections have long-lasting immune responses against the virus, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
The study, published in Science Immunology, offers hope that people infected with the virus will develop lasting protection against reinfection. The study also demonstrates that measuring antibodies can be an accurate tool for tracking the spread of the virus in the community.
The immune system produces proteins called antibodies in response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. “But there is a big knowledge gap in terms of how long these antibody responses last,” said Richelle Charles, an investigator in the Division of Infectious Diseases at MGH and a senior author of the paper. To find out, she and her colleagues obtained blood samples from 343 patients with COVID-19, most of whom had severe cases. The blood samples were taken up to four months after a patient’s symptoms emerged. The blood’s plasma was isolated and applied to laboratory plates coated with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the virus’ “spike” protein, which attaches to cells, leading to infection. The team studied how different types of antibodies in the plasma bound to RBD. The results were compared to blood samples obtained from more than 1,500 individuals prior to the pandemic.
The researchers found that levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin G (IgG) remained elevated in infected patients for four months and were associated with the presence of protective neutralizing antibodies, which also demonstrated little decrease in activity over time.
“That means that people are very likely protected for that period of time,” said Charles. “We showed that key antibody responses to COVID-19 do persist.”
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/10/covid-survivors-may-have-four-months-of-protection/HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!
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