A comprehensive study conducted in Iceland made a huge claim – novel coronavirus antibodies continue to protect the individual against the virus, and that depleting COVID-19 antibodies are still effective.
This report comes amid concerns over the developing vaccination and its efficacy to continue to protect people from the virus in the long-run.
Many health experts believe there is no proven long-term protection from the virus, and that a successful vaccine might as well as fail to do so.
But the Icelandic study claims otherwise – those who have developed antibodies against the virus tend to remain protected from the virus for long, Decode Genetics, the firm behind the research says.
There was no indication that depleting antibodies post-COVID-recovery meant decreased protection against the virus, the comprehensive study found, Icelandic media RUV reported.
Kari Stefansson, neurologist and the company’s CEO, said:
“We have tested a large number of people and our results are unequivocal.”
How was the test conducted?
Decode Genetics tested 30k people in Iceland and found only 1 % developed antibodies to the novel coronavirus, Sputnik reports.
Iceland so far reported nearly 2k COVID-19 cases in the island nation of some 300,000-plus population. Ten people died from the virus.
The study found some disparity in sex when it comes to the body’s defence against the virus. Men tended to generate more antibodies than women. And older people had more antibodies than younger.
However, women tended to fall sick lesser than men, thus compensating for the fewer antibodies generated, Kari Stefansson explained.
What did earlier studies show?
Earlier studies raised concerns over the efficacy of post-recovery antibodies and the duration of the resistance against the virus.
For instance, a study conducted by the King’s College in London found COVID antibodies started to die-off in two-three months.
America’s top infectious disease specialist and a part of the White House coronavirus response crew, Dr Anthony Fauci said immunity against the novel virus might be finite, he said suggesting boosters to remain immunised in the long run.
“We may need a boost to continue the protection. But right now we do not know how long it lasts,” Fauci said in early July.
In another instance, an immunology professor at London’s Imperial college warned against relying on immunity to the virus, saying: “And immunity to this thing looks rather fragile — it looks like some people might have antibodies for a few months and then it might wane, so it’s not looking like a safe bet.”
However, despite the foggy understanding of the lasting effect of antibodies to the novel coronavirus, many nations like Sweden bet on the power of immunity to battle the same.
Sweden, for instance, did not adopt the traditional ‘lockdown’ betting on earning ‘herd immunity’ against the virus. The country kept life normal allowing the business to operate as usual.
In fact, in July, Sweden’s Public Health Agency claimed that the metropolitan area of Greater Stockholm might be approaching herd immunity since 40% of the city-dwellers had COVD antibodies.
The body knows
A recent New York Times report says the human body is acquainted with the novel coronavirus despite the virus is new and never exposed.
As much as 20-50% of the global population might harbour immunity powerhouse called T-cells that can recognize the novel coronavirus, despite never having to fight it out, a flurry of studies found.
The reason behind this, as the report explains, is the early exposure to other coronaviruses that cause common cold and flu, from the past to date.
T-cells that have possibly fought-off other coronaviruses in the past and they lurk in the bloodstream of many, and to those T-cells, family resemblance comes into effect – all coronavirus with common roots get the same treatment, novel or tried, Times of India reports.
However, experts still can’t conclude if T-Cells are really so much effective in fighting off the virus.
“We did not expect a lifelong immunity to this disease because we have looked at the knowledge that you have from other coronaviruses”, Decode Genetics CEO told SVT, Iceland’s national media.