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Antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 might not last too long, according to a new study from China.
In fact, two of the antibodies studied – immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) - only lasted a few weeks. Both of these antibodies were specific for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Scientists measured the antibodies in 74 people who were infected with the SARS-CoV-2. Thirty-seven of the people had showed symptoms – fever, cough, sore throat, sputum - and the other 37 did not.
“In this study, we observed that IgG levels and neutralizing antibodies in a high proportion of individuals who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection start to decrease within 2–3 months after infection,” the authors wrote.
This contrasts with previous antibody studies of the viruses SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV.
People who had SARS-CoV infection sustained their IgG levels for more than two years. Those who had MERS-CoV still had antibodies after 34 months.
Given the data of this recent study, social distancing, hygiene, isolation of high-risk groups and widespread testing might be prolonged, the authors suggested.
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