Scientists from the University of Texas found that adults who get COVID-19 could have antibodies circulating in their blood for nearly 500 days after infection.
They found that the level of antibodies in those previously infected increases for the first 100 days post-infection and then gradually declines over the next 500 days and beyond.
The research is published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases and was conducted by Michael Swartz et al.
In the study, the team analyzed data from more than 57,000 volunteers older than 20 enrolled in the Texas CARES survey. It was launched in October 2020 to track COVID-19 antibody status over time.
Most of the volunteers self-reported a COVID-19 infection before October 2020. The researchers examined blood samples collected from participants between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 17, 2021.
The researchers found while individual results varied based on age, weight, smoking or vaping, and severity of infection, all of the volunteers had a similar decrease in antibodies.
Even though antibodies can last for nearly 1.5 years after COVID-19 infection, Swartz emphasized that vaccination provides the best protection against infection, reinfection and hospitalization.
The team says that the rates of reinfection or hospitalization after being vaccinated are a lot lower than not being vaccinated, especially against other variants as they saw with Delta and Omicron. It is important to get vaccinated.
Previous studies found that children had circulating antibodies for at least seven months after a COVID-19 infection.
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