A new study out of New York has shown that almost everyone who has had the coronavirus – regardless of their age or the severity of the illness – makes antibodies to the disease.
The study is a ray of hope to calm fears that those who had been infected with the virus and recovered would not be immune.
Antibodies are unique to a particular virus, so their presence in the body is evidence that the person was infected by Covid-19 and mounted an immune response. The presence of antibodies a generally accepted means of assessing immunity, though only more data and time will tell for sure in the case of any virus.
The study examined results from 1,343 people in and around New York City and concluded that “almost all participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in our 234 study mounted an IgG immune response to this disease.”
The authors of the study, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, said the results were reassuring.
They also found that even those who had only mild symptoms of the coronavirus produced the antibodies.
The study observed that the optimal time frame for widespread testing for antibodies is at least three to four weeks after symptom onset.
A word of caution: the study is a ‘preprint’ which means it has not yet been peer-reviewed.
However, the New York Times reported that other scientists welcomed the result: “This is very good news,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York who was not involved with the work. “It really shows that most people do develop antibodies, and that there’s very good correlation between those antibodies and their capability to neutralize virus.”