In a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found if you’ve already had COVID-19, your natural antibodies may last as long as 20 months.
They caution that the new findings don’t necessarily mean you’re protected against reinfection and that vaccines remain an important part of a COVID-19 prevention strategy.
In the study, the team measured levels of antibodies in the blood of 816 unvaccinated U.S. adults.
The investigators found antibodies in 99% of those who said they had a positive COVID-19 test result; 55% of folks who believed they had COVID-19 but were never tested; and 11% who didn’t think they ever had COVID-19.
Almost everyone with a documented COVID-19 infection had antibodies, and these antibodies seem to persist for quite a long time.
Other studies have shown that natural COVID-19 antibodies wane over time, often in about six months. The new study looked at data on a group of people at one point in time.
Studies that follow the same people at several points in time have shown that natural antibodies do drop.
The team says importantly, just because you have natural antibodies doesn’t mean you are protected against reinfection.
People who had more severe COVID-19 disease do have higher antibody levels but that doesn’t protect them forever.
Antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein in SARS-CoV-2 only appear if you have recovered from COVID, while vaccines and natural infection produce an antibody to the virus’ spike proteins.
The team suggests people do everything they can to protect against COVID-19.
If you care about Covid, please read studies that almost 1 in 3 older people develop new health problems after COVID-19 infection, and this existing drug can save damaged lungs in COVID-19.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that some at-home COVID-19 tests may fail to detect omicron early, and results showing that CBD from cannabis may inhibit COVID-19 infection.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was conducted by Dr. Otto Yang et al.
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