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Portuguese study finds antibodies to coronavirus last up to 5 months

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 11, 2020
A study conducted in Portugal found that antibodies against the novel coronavirus, which causes coronavirus, remain in the body for up to five months after the infection, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported.
Marc Veldhoen
Portugal   Marc VeldhoenMarc Veldhoen
For the immunologist Marc Veldhoen, coordinator at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM) Joao Lobo Antunes of the University of Lisbon, this is a "relatively short" period for an immune response.

However, he said, these results should be seen with "optimism," because "almost five months after a positive test for COVID-19, we were still able to detect antibodies and the levels remained good."

Veldhoen, who is the leader of the IMM Immune System Regulation laboratory, said that the study will be presented to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sept. 18.

According to the specialist, the results are now available on the Medrxiv medical portal but will be submitted "in the next few days" for validation by other researchers, after which they will be published in scientific journals.

The IMM immunologist, however, stated that the study did not detect how long these antibodies circulate, on average, in the body, promoting a protective effect against COVID-19.

"Although antibody levels are not as high as in the third week, we can easily detect them up to 150 days," he said, adding low levels of antibodies, "or none at all", "does not mean that there is no immune protection."

"After the first contact, the immune cells that can fight SARS-CoV-2 will remain as 'memory cells' and will be useful if the virus tries to infect again...And they will produce antibodies more quickly and with higher quality," he explained.