LONDON – The antibody to anti-coronavirus novelty declined rapidly in the British population in the summer, a study found Tuesday, shows that post-infection protection may not be limited and raise hopes of declining public immunity.
Scientists at Imperial College London tracked antibody levels in the British population following the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April.
Their study found that the number of antibodies increased by a quarter, from 6% of people in late June to just 4.4% in September. That raises hopes of declining human immunity before the second wave of infection in recent weeks has forced local restrictions and restrictions.
Although immunity to the novel coronavirus is complex and obscure, and can be assisted by T cells, and B cells can promote the rapid production of antibodies after re-infection, researchers said the knowledge of coronaviruses suggested immunity may not be tolerated.
“We can see the antibodies and we can see the decline and we know that the antibodies themselves are very protective,” Wendy Barclay, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London, told reporters.
“With the rest of the evidence I would say, from what we know about other coronaviruses, it would appear that the immune system is declining at the same rate as the immune system is declining, and that this is an indication of a decrease in immunity at the human level.”
Those whose COVID-19 was certified with the gold standard of PCR had a lower decrease in antibodies, compared with people who had no symptoms and were unaware of their initial infection.
There was no change in the levels of antibodies detected in health care workers, possibly due to repeated exposure to the virus.
The study supports the findings of a similar study in Germany that found most people do not have COVID-19 antibodies, even in areas where the disease is found, and that the immune system may disappear from those who do it.
World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said doubts about how long the immune system would last and how many people had never had antibodies against coronavirus in the first place indicated the need to break the chains of transmission.
“Getting this combined protection simply by allowing the virus to infect people is not an option,” he told a UN forum in Geneva.
The Imperial study, based on a survey of 365,000 randomly selected adults, was published as a pre-print paper, and has not been reviewed by peers.
The rapid decline in antibodies had no effect on the performance of drug vaccines currently in clinical trials, Imperial’s Barclay said.