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expert reaction to preprint looking at COVID-19 antibodies and protection against reinfection

A preprint, an unpublished non-peer reviewed study, posted on medRxiv looks at antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and protection against reinfection.


Prof Richard Tedder, Visiting Professor in Medical Virology, Imperial College London, said:

“The demonstration that pre-existing antibody following a primary infection with SARS COV 2 provides resistance to re-infection it is immensely important.  Though it is what many of us who have worked with viruses in humans for years would have expected, the fact that this particular virus, incidentally not an influenza virus, seems to follow the conventional route of relative resistance to reinfection is a comforting example of restoration of normality for a virus infection.  It also gives comfort and credibility to the concept of immunisation with envelope components for this virus and suggests that those of us who have steadfastly believed that antibody testing has a degree of validity for resistance and immunity identification, subject to using an antibody test which detects antibody that is potentially neutralising, were not mistaken and not misguided as many people would have had us believe.”


*NOT a third-party comment* Susan Hopkins, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, PHE and one of the study’s authors, said:

“This study is a fantastic example of how well-structured long-term cohort surveillance can produce hugely useful results.  Studies like this one are absolutely vital in helping us to understand how this new virus behaves and what the implications are for acquired immunity.  This, as well as Public Health England’s SIREN study, are key to ensuring that we have the information we need to respond to the pandemic in the most effective way.

“I am deeply grateful to my colleagues at the University of Oxford and to all the participants who continue to volunteer to assist us in this critical work.”


Preprint (not a paper): ‘Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are associated with protection against reinfection’ by Sheila F Lumley et al was posted on medRxiv on Thursday 19 November 2020.  This work is not peer-reviewed.



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



Declared interests

Prof Richard Tedder: “Conflict of interest as we have the hybrid DABA, and patented, which detects and measures antibody to the neutralising antigen RBD.”

None others received.

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