Since the coronavirus first made its appearance, there’s been a lot of talk about antibodies. And for good reason. They’re supposed to be the ultimate trump card against infection.
The theory is if you’ve already had COVID-19, you’re automatically protected against getting the virus ever again. Like with measles, the antibodies you developed while sick would keep you safe even if you get exposed to the bug again.
If the antibody theory is correct, that would mean if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 before and recovered, you could head back out and resume your normal life.
And folks who were severely sick before coronavirus testing was widely available could feel relatively safe as well. Since chances are they had battled the bug and won too.
But wait, don’t head back outside just yet.
It’s a nice theory. But it turns out you may NOT have the protection you think. In fact, you may not even be protected at all.
Antibodies plummeted over 70% in two months
As I shared last week, antibodies don’t always provide the protective power that scientists had assumed. Not everyone who’s sick gets the right ones or the right amounts for full protection from a second infection with COVID-19.
Now, a second new study paints an even more alarming picture. It finds that even when you HAVE those antibodies… even when tests show you SHOULD have protection… it may not last very long.
The study looked at the two main types of coronavirus patients.
- People with obvious COVID-19 symptoms
- People who tested positive, but had NO symptoms
Within two months, levels of one key type of antibody took a nosedive in 93 percent of the patients in the asymptomatic group and 97 percent of those in the symptomatic group.
Those levels didn’t just dip by a little bit, either. They plunged by more than 70 percent in both sets of patients.
Even worse, 40 percent of the folks without symptoms… and 13 percent of those who had symptoms… had their IgG antibodies drop to ZERO.
The bad news doesn’t end there either. The study also found a drop in the neutralizing antibodies that have the power to block a virus even without the help of the immune system.
Within eight weeks, 81 percent of the patients without symptoms saw their neutralizing antibodies fall by 8.3 percent. And 62 percent of folks who had battled a “full” infection had theirs drop 11.7 percent.
Coronavirus protection isn’t guaranteed
So you’re probably wondering what this means for those who’ve been sick. And the truth is, we don’t exactly know. Because like so much else with this infection, it’s not entirely clear yet.
What we can say is this. If you’ve been sick with COVID-19, there’s NO guarantee you won’t get sick again.
So even if you’ve tested positive for the coronavirus before, don’t rely on your own history with this infection to assume your protected. Because having antibodies doesn’t mean you’re safe.
You still need to take the same precautions I’ve been encouraging you to take all along. Avoid crowds, keep your distance, steer clear of indoor activities as much as you can, and wear a mask.
In the end, those simple steps might turn out to be far more important than any antibodies.