A recent study involving 20,000 participants has suggested that Covid-19 antibodies last for at least six months in those that have had the virus. The results showed up to 88% of those infected with Covid-19 still had antibodies in their blood to fight reinfection six months after initially being infected.
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Backing up data from smaller studies
The data from UK Biobank seems to back up smaller studies that have been carried out previously among healthcare workers. In this larger-scale study, almost 20,000 participants were required to submit a blood sample monthly between May and December 2020.
During the testing period, just under 1,700 were found to have antibodies, with the majority having contracted the virus during the pandemic's first wave. Researchers also said that although the remaining 12% of participants tested negative for antibodies, there was still some level of protection against reinfection.
Professor Naomi Allen, the chief scientist at UK Biobank, said, "Although we cannot be certain how [the presence of antibodies] relates to immunity, the results suggest that people may be protected against subsequent infection for at least six months following natural infection. More prolonged follow-up will allow us to determine how long such protection is likely to last."
A breakdown of the data
Researchers also provided a breakdown of the data based on ethnicity and age. According to the figures, 16% of black people tested positive for antibodies from among the 20,000 tested. This fell slightly to 14% for South Asian participants and fell sharply to 8.5% for white people and 7.5% for Chinese.
The data also showed 13.5% of younger people aged 30 and under tested positive for antibodies, but in older people aged 70 or over, this fell to 6.7%.
In addition to providing valuable data about antibodies, the research also provided more information regarding the virus's symptoms. Among the participants taking part in the study, 26% experienced a cough, and 28% had a fever.
However, the main symptom reported was a loss of taste or smell, with 43% registering this symptom. The data also showed that 40% did not experience any of these symptoms, and 20% were completely asymptomatic.
Health Secretary hails news about Oxford vaccine slowing spread of the virus
Data from another recent study has also suggested that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could help slow the spread of the virus, which could be a major gamechanger in the fight against Covid. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, was quick to express his delight at this latest data, describing it as ‘absolutely superb,’ adding this proved vaccines were the solution to getting life back to normal.
The impact of the vaccine on transmission could be significant. It is also the first time data has shown that a vaccine can slow the virus's spread by reducing transmission.