COVID-19 severity affected by proportion of antibodies targeting crucial viral protein
COVID-19 antibodies preferentially target a different part of the virus in mild cases of COVID-19 than they do in severe cases, and wane significantly within several months of infection, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford Medicine.
The findings identify new links between the course of the disease and a patient’s immune response. They also raise concerns about whether people can be re-infected, whether antibody tests to detect prior infection may underestimate the breadth of the pandemic and whether vaccinations may need to be repeated at regular intervals to maintain a protective immune response.
“This is one of the most comprehensive studies to date of the antibody immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in people across the entire spectrum of disease severity, from asymptomatic to fatal,” said Scott Boyd, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology. “We assessed multiple time points and sample types, and also analyzed levels of viral RNA in patient nasopharyngeal swabs and blood samples. It’s one of the first big-picture looks at this illness.”
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