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COVID-19 antibodies may disappear fast. But protection may last longer

The novel coronavirus may create antibodies that disappear fast. But protection could stick around

Nurse practitioner Lynette Evans, right, tells Jennifer Whitehead that she tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies at Galena Hills Park in Draper on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Whitehead, a physician assistant, was very sick in February and was hoping the antibody results would come back as positive.
Nurse practitioner Lynette Evans, right, tells Jennifer Whitehead that she tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies at Galena Hills Park in Draper on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Whitehead, a physician assistant, was very sick in February and was hoping the antibody results would come back as positive.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Antibodies that battle the novel coronavirus may only last for a few months in those who suffer from the illness. But protection against the coronavirus might last longer, NBC News reports.

Recently, researchers found in a new study that antibodies have a 73-day half-life, meaning that about half of them would die out after 73 days.

“Our findings raise concern that humoral immunity against SARS-CoV-2 may not be long-lasting in persons with mild illness, who compose the majority of persons with COVID-19,” according to Dr. Otto Yang and others at the University of California, Los Angeles, who wrote for the study, according to CNN.

The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

This new research “call for caution regarding antibody-based ‘immunity passports,’ herd immunity, and perhaps vaccine durability,” Yang wrote for the study.

The researchers looked at 30 patients with COVID-19, including four people who lived together who were believed to have the disease.

However, antibodies aren’t the only answers. B cells within the body can learn how to fight off the coronavirus once it does it the first time.

“They would get called into action very quickly when there’s a new exposure to the virus. It’s as if they lie dormant, just waiting,” Dr. Buddy Creech, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, told NBC News.