Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles found in people who have already had COVID-19, the natural antibodies may last as long as 20 months.
But the findings don’t necessarily mean you’re protected against reinfection, and that vaccines remain an important part of a COVID-19 prevention strategy.
The research is published in JAMA and was conducted by Dr. Otto Yang et al.
In the study, the team measured levels of antibodies in the blood of 816 unvaccinated U.S. adults.
They 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.
The team says scientists really need to start incorporating antibodies from natural immunity into the context of immunity evaluation, moving from vaccine verification to immunity verification.
Importantly, just because you have natural antibodies doesn’t mean you are protected against reinfection.
Other studies have shown that natural COVID-19 antibodies wane over time, often in about six months.
This study looked at data on a group of people at one point in time. Other studies that follow the same people at several points in time have shown that natural antibodies do drop.
People who had more severe COVID-19 disease do have higher antibody levels but that doesn’t protect them forever.
Researchers suggest that people get vaccinated and boosted when they are able, wear masks in public places, practice social distancing, and stay home when they are sick.
If you care about COVID, please read studies about drugs that could treat COVID-19, and vitamin D can be a cheap COVID-19 treatment.
For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about drug that can block multiple COVID-19 variants, and results showing aspirin, common anti-inflammatory drugs may prevent COVID-19 deaths.
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