An investigation carried out by King’s College London yielded these results. A study led by researchers from King’s College London analyzed the immune response of 65 patients and healthcare workers against COVID-19. The results showed that of the 60% of the recovered people who developed a good antibody response, only 17% maintained that level after three months.
These findings could eliminate the idea of herd immunity from the massive contagion of a population, since exposure to the disease after three months could be dangerous due to the low level of antibodies.
It is important to mention that immunity is not yet a guarantee since there have been cases of people reinfected with COVID-19. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) explains in a scientific note the following:
“Most of these studies show that people who have recovered from an infection have antibodies against the virus. However, in some of them the blood concentration of neutralizing antibodies is very low, which suggests that cellular immunity could also play a crucial role in recovery ”.
While more research is needed, the analysis showed that vaccines in development will need to provide stronger and longer-lasting protection or people will need to use it regularly, the authors explain.
The immunity and the defenses that the organism creates against the virus are essential for the development of a vaccine. Therefore, it is important that further research is carried out and other factors are taken into account.
But overall, the scientists converged on three reasons to hold out a bit of skepticism about the most apocalyptic headlines.
First, our immune system is a mysterious place, and the KCL study looked at only one part of it. When a new pathogen enters the body, our adaptive immune system calls up a team of B cells, which produce antibodies, and T cells. To oversimplify a bit, the B cells’ antibodies intercept and bind to invading molecules, and the killer T cells seek and destroy infected cells. Evaluating an immune response without accounting for T cells is like inventorying a national air force but leaving out the bomber jets. And, in the case of COVID-19, those bomber jets could make the biggest difference. A growing collection of evidence suggests that T cells provide the strongest and longest-lasting immunity to COVID-19—but this study didn’t measure them at all.
“To look at just one part of the immune response is woefully incomplete, especially if many COVID patients rely more on T cells,” said Eric Topol, a cardiologist and the founder and director of the Scripps Research facility. He pointed me to a study from France’s Strasbourg University Hospital, which found that some people recovering from COVID-19 showed strong T-cell responses without detectable antibodies. “There is a chance that if a similar longitudinal study looked at T-cell response, the outcome would be far more optimistic,” he said.
Well, let’s be optimistic then.