Updated: August 22, 2021 12:42:06 pm
People who have had severe or long-lasting cases of Covid-19 are more likely to have high levels of an important antibody needed to fight against future infection, according to a new study from Rutgers University published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The published paper, ‘Determinants and dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a diverse population: 6-month evaluation of a prospective cohort study’, was part of the larger Rutgers Corona Cohort study, which followed 548 healthcare workers and 283 others from the start of the pandemic.
The researchers found that, within 6 months of the start of the study, more than 93 of the total 831 participants (11%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, or for antibodies. Of those 93, 24 were severely symptomatic and 14 were asymptomatic. One-third of the infected participants had symptoms – such as fatigue, shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell – that lasted at least a month; 10% had symptoms that lasted at least four months.
Most people infected by SARS-CoV-2 develop antibodies. The study showed that antibody production varied based on severity of symptoms: 96% of participants who had severe symptoms were found to have IgG antibodies compared to 89% with mild to moderate symptoms and 79% who were asymptomatic.
“Neurological changes, including brain fog and problems with memory or vision, were infrequent among infected participants but did tend to last for many months when they occurred. Notably, having persistent symptoms was also associated with having higher antibody levels over time. We know from other research that vaccination further enhances immune protection and sometimes even helps ease long-term symptoms,” a Rutgers University press release quoted co-lead author Daniel B Horton as saying.
Co-lead author Emily S. Barrett was quoted as saying: “It is normal for antibody levels to decline over time. Nevertheless, IgG antibodies provide long-term protection to help the body fight reinfection.”
The study recruited people before they were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection and evaluated people across a spectrum of illness severity, providing broader insight into antibody response over the long term.
Source: Rutgers University