Does Covid-19 hamper immunity of recovered patients?

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 23, 2020

Study by Chinese researchers finds sharp decline in Immunoglobulin G antibody, one of the main types of antibodies induced after infection

According to a recent study by Chinese researchers, the levels of antibodies found in recovered coronavirus patients witnessed a steep decline 2-3 months after infection for both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, Reuters reported.

The research, published in Nature Medicine on June 18, stressed on the risks of using Covid-19 ‘immunity passports’ and supports the prolonged use of public health interventions such as social distancing and isolating high-risk groups, a Reuters report quoting researchers said.

The research studied as many as 37 symptomatic and asymptomatic patients each. They found that over 90 per cent showed sharp declines of the Immunoglobulin G antibody, one of the main types of antibodies induced after infection and the most common type of antibody found in blood circulation, in two-three months.

The median percentage decrease was more than 70 per cent for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

For neutralising serum antibodies, the median percentage of decrease for symptomatic individuals was 11.7 per cent, while for asymptomatic individuals it was 8.3 per cent.

The study was conducted by researchers at Chongqing Medical University, a branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutes.

Jin Dong-Yan, a virology professor at the University of Hong Kong, who was not part of the research group, showed some positivity as he believes that the study does not negate the presence of immunity in other body parts that could also offer protection against foreign agents entering the body of the individuals.

Some cells memorise how to cope with a virus when first infected and can muster effective protection if there is a second round of infection, he said to Reuters.

Scientists are still investigating whether this mechanism works for the new coronavirus.

“The finding in this paper doesn’t mean the sky is falling,” he said. He also pointed out that the number of patients studied was small.

Published on June 23, 2020

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