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COVID-19 survivors have increased immunity against the novel coronavirus

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals COVID-19 survivors have immunity

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Adriana Sanchez, medical assistant and teacher’s assistant at Esperanza Elementary School, puts on protective gear before assisting at a COVID-19 test site at Esperanza Elementary School in West Valley City on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.

Adriana Sanchez, medical assistant and teacher’s assistant at Esperanza Elementary School, puts on protective gear before assisting at a COVID-19 test site at Esperanza Elementary School in West Valley City on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. A new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine reveals COVID-19 survivors have immunity.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

A new study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that COVID-19 survivors have increased immunity to the novel coronavirus.

The study— funded by the U.S. government — reviewed antibody test data from 3.2 million U.S. patients from Jan. 1 to Aug. 23, 2020.

  • The study found 3% of patients tested negative for antibodies but then tested positive for COVID-19 later on.
  • Meanwhile, 0.3% of people tested positive for antibodies and then tested positive for COVID-19.
  • This shows that having the COVID-19 antibodies led to fewer infections of COVID-19.

Doug Lowy, co-author and deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, which conducted the study, said that the antibodies have a huge impact on infection, per Axios.

  • “There’s a tenfold decrease, which is essentially a 90% reduction in risk for people who are antibody positive,” he said. “It’s something that has been hypothesized for a long time, but our study is by far the largest study to look at this, especially in the United States.”

Lowy also told CNN that this means there’s protection for those who get COVID-19.

  • “To me, the big message is — there’s a reduction,” he said. “The main takeaway is that being antibody positive after natural infection is associated with partial protection against a new infection.”

Of course, the study was done using real-time data so this is a rough average.

What’s next?

Per CNN, there needs to be more research done into how long the antibodies last and the risk people have to any COVID-19 variants popping up across the country.

As I wrote for the Deseret News in January, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found those who recovered from the novel coronavirus may have less than 90 days of immunity.