While some reports have come out saying antibodies to coronavirus go away quickly, a new study has revealed that the vast majority of individuals infected with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 mount a robust antibody response that is relatively stable for at least five months.
The study, published in the journal Science, found that this antibody response correlates with the body's ability to neutralize (kill) SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
"We have found just the opposite - that more than 90 per cent of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralize the virus, and the response is maintained for many months," said study author Florian Krammer from Mount Sinai Hospital in the US.
"Uncovering the robustness of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, including its longevity and neutralizing effects, is critically important. This is essential for effective vaccine development," Krammer added.
Study findings are based on a dataset of 30,082 individuals, who were screened within the Mount Sinai Health System between March and October 2020.
The antibody test used in this research--an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)--is based on the virus's telltale spike protein that contains the machinery that enables it to attach and gain entry into our cells.
The ELISA assay was developed, validated, and launched at Mount Sinai by a team of internationally renowned researchers and clinicians.
The Mount Sinai antibody test detects the presence or absence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and, importantly, is capable of measuring the titer (level) of antibodies an individual has.
By early October, Mount Sinai had screened 72,401 individuals with a total of 30,082 being positive (defined as detectible antibodies to the spike protein at a titer of 1:80 or higher).
Of the 30,082 positive samples, the vast majority of positive individuals had moderate-to-high titers of anti-spike antibodies.
"We were able to implement robust and compliant diagnostic tests at an unprecedented pace," said study author Carlos Cordon-Cardo.
"The tireless efforts of so many have enabled us to uncover the knowledge that can help inform Covid-19 policy and aid in vaccine development," Cardo added.
However, recently, a study from Imperial College London found that antibodies against Covid-19 declined rapidly in the hundreds of thousands of people across England.