Local infectious disease specialist explains role of antibodies in COVID-19

How long do COVID-19 antibodies last?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - New research suggests antibodies your immune system makes to fight coronavirus may only last a few months in people with mild symptoms.


Antibodies are the proteins the body makes to fight infection.

In some diseases, they can prevent re-infection, though infectious disease doctor Ali Hassoun can’t say for sure if that’s true for COVID-19.

He says there needs to be more research.

“I really don’t think we have a definite understanding of when we’re going to lose that antibody response, but what we need to keep in mind is what they’re checking is how much antibody has been produced in that patient who had COVID,” Hassoun said.

He says it’s also not clear how long antibodies linger.

“At the moment from the conclusion from the data that i have read and been through, probably three to four we still have some neutralizing antibodies and after that we might be more vulnerable to infection,” Hassoun said.

Antibodies do tend to decrease over time in a lot of instances, but other parts of the immune system also help to protect us.

“We have the Y cells which is B-cells all different size what we call memory cells that when you get exposed to infection they will memorize that and they can start fighting when they get exposed to it,” he explained.

And another line of defense is a kind of immune cell called a T cell.

“Even though the antibody numbers go down, the t-cells might still be able to fight the infection. We still now don’t know that full information,” Hassoun said.

He says there are a lot of factors that need to continue to be studied to know the definite answer.

“There’s different types of antibodies. There’s what you call IGA, IGT, and IGM. Each one of them is important. Each one of them are they specifically targeted to the virus,” he said.

What’s most important in these findings is...

“What is important to us is not just the numbers what is important to us is the antibodies will continue to neutralize the virus,” Dr. Hassoun said.

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