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expert reaction to antibody response in COVID-19 patients

Research, published in Nature Medicine, reports on antibody response in COVID-19 patients.


Prof Eleanor Riley, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the University of Edinburgh, said:

“This peer-reviewed study from China, published today in Nature Medicine, adds to a growing database on antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The data are very much in line with studies already published on preprint servers. The study comprised 285 confirmed COVID-19 cases, some of whom were followed over time with repeated samples. The study used a lab-based assay commercially produced in China. No formal validation of the assay was presented in the paper but the data look sensible and suggest that the assay is both sensitive and specific.

“The key findings are that 100% of patients made a detectable antibody response (IgM and/or IgG) within 3 weeks of onset of symptoms although there was huge variation in the magnitude of the antibody response between subjects.  Initially, antibody levels were higher among severe cases (those with respiratory distress) than non-severe cases but this difference was no longer apparent later in the course of follow up.

“Of interest, 7 of 148 asymptomatic/PCR negative close contacts of known cases were antibody positive, suggesting that asymptomatic infection had occurred in about 5% of close contacts of confirmed cases. However, there was no follow up of cases beyond one month, so this study does not help us understand the durability of the antibody response. “


‘Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients with COVID-19’ by Quan-Xin Long et al is published in Nature Medicine

DOI 10.1038/s41591-020-0897-1


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


Declared interests

None received. 

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