People develop protective antibodies after having COVID-19, but how long do they last?

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A month after testing positive for COVID-19, a group of people with mild infections had protective antibodies in their blood, a new study has found.

The study, whose findings should be interpreted with caution as it has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal, followed a group of 160 hospital staff in France who had tested positive for COVID-19 but did not require hospitalization.

The researchers found that nearly all the patients had measurable amounts of antibodies — material produced by the body as it fights off an infection – and that these antibodies were somewhat able to neutralize the virus. The neutralization appeared to increase over time, though how that translates to immunity isn’t clear.

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“Although not yet demonstrated, several lines of evidence suggest that the presence of neutralizing antibodies may be associated with protective immunity for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the study authors wrote.

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But, as the study only looked at people for up to about a month after symptom onset, it doesn’t show whether antibodies will be present much longer than that, or if they confer immunity to the virus,

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