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Arizona Study Shows COVID-19 Antibodies Persist For Five Months

University of Arizona

A new studypublished yesterday by scientists at the University of Arizona shows antibodies to the coronavirus disease last for at least five months after infection. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

The body develops antibodies to fight the coronavirus infection within the first two weeks. While some earlier studies show these antibodies quickly vanish, leaving people vulnerable to re-infection, the new research focused on a second stage of immune response that lasts much longer. Researchers developed an antibody blood test that is accurate more than 99 percent of the time, and tested nearly six thousand people in Pima County. Those who tested positive still had high levels of antibodies in their blood five to seven months later. The researchers say that’s consistent with other types of coronavirus which trigger antibodies that last for years. But they caution more research is needed to see if antibodies continue to persist and if results hold true for people with mild cases of the disease. Some people have been re-infected with COVID-19 after recovering from it, but these cases have been rare.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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