COVID-19 antibodies do last, study suggests

06.08.2020 - 09:38
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 Mynd: Þór Ægisson - RÚV
Kári Stefánsson, CEO and founder of deCODE genetics, says his company’s research does not suggest any evidence that the body’s natural coronavirus defence goes away quickly after a patient recovers. 91 percent of people who contracted the virus have antibodies today.

deCODE has tested around 30,000 people for antibodies and discovered that around one percent of people in Iceland have developed some level of immunity to COVID-19. The company’s research suggests that a very large majority of people who contract the virus do develop defences, and that their protection is enduring. 

“There is no evidence in Icelandic society that antibody levels reduce quickly after people recover, as people overseas have been wondering and worrying about. News of that has been based on testing very few individuals. We are testing a very large number and our results are definitive,” Kári says. 

Antibody testing at deCODE genetics has revealed that older people produce more COVID-19 antibodies than young people, and men produce more than women.  

Nine percent of people confirmed to have had the virus have not developed antibodies. That could have more than one explanation, Kári says. “There is a small percentage who get false positives on the test, so it is possible that some of these nine percent are people who were never infected. The other possibility is that the body can get over an infection like this not only by creating antibodies, but also by activating T cells which can also tackle the virus. But that is a topic for future research,” Kári adds. 

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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