In the study published in medRxiv, a team at the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute of the New York Blood Center and Rockefeller University analyzed 370 plasma samples donated from people who recovered from COVID-19 and found some surprising results.
Around 88% of the people generated varying levels of antibodies to the virus.

But only about 10% of them had high levels that were able to neutralize the lab-based version of the COVID-19 virus.

17% had almost no antibody response to their infection.
What that means is so-called “natural immunity” to SARS-CoV-2 may be more complicated than the idea that everyone infected with COVID-19 is robustly protected from getting the disease again, says Dr. Larry Luchsinger.
“There was a very significant group of people who had essentially no neutralizing activity [against the virus]. What we found was that surprisingly, across all tests, there was a very wide deviation or range of antibody results that people were experiencing.”
More data needs to be collected to understand why recovered patients have such a wide range in antibody levels, and how that could affect people’s ability to fight off future infections with the virus.
Since all of the people recovered from their infections, some people’s immune systems may rely heavily on antibodies, while others turn to different types of cells to fend off the virus.
The results make a strong case for doctors to not just test for antibody levels, but to learn what those levels might mean for each patient’s ability to fight further infection. Making those sorts of determinations isn’t possible yet, but it might be with more data...
“At this very moment, little is known about antibodies and their utility,” Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology and faculty member at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said i
However, “The unfortunate thing is, the only way to know [for sure] what level of neutralizing activity is required is to take individuals and re-expose them to COVID-19,” Luchsinger says. “There are ethical dilemmas in doing something like that.”
You can follow @jamewils.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: