In a recent study from Iceland, researchers found that immunity to COVID-19 may not be as fleeting as first thought.
The study may encourage scientists who are racing to develop coronavirus vaccines.
The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Previous research on coronavirus antibodies had shown that immunity might be short-lived, leaving people vulnerable to reinfection.
But the current study offers hope that a vaccine that triggers a strong immune response will have a longer-lasting effect than some had believed.
Among 30,000 Icelandic residents who were tested for antibodies to COVID-19, the researchers discovered the antibodies stayed in people’s systems for at least four months.
Of those who tested positive for the coronavirus, 487 had received multiple antibody tests.
In the first two months after a patient was diagnosed, the antibodies that can confer immunity rose significantly. For the next two months, antibody levels remained stable.
The researchers also found that women, nonsmokers, and older patients had higher levels of antibodies, as did those who had suffered more severe infections.
The findings provide hope that host immunity to this unpredictable and highly contagious virus may not be fleeting and may be similar to that elicited by most other viral infections.
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