Antibodies are proteins made by your body to fight off infections. While antibody testing might not be able to diagnose active coronavirus infections but it can help in the assessment of the immunity developed against a certain infection. The presence of certain antibodies in the blood sample can indicate that the person had some exposure to the infection, either through vaccination or previous infection or even both. Assessment of COVID antibodies is crucial in understanding how our immune system might be developing a memory of the infection. However, getting a positive on these tests cannot be taken as a sign of developed immunity against the infection.
As far as we know till now, COVID-19 antibodies can stay in the blood for months or over a year. Experts do recognize the fact that the human immune system provides some degree of life-long protection against infection after the initial exposure. However, the level of protection might diminish over time, hence, the stress on booster doses becomes relevant. People who might have been infected with COVID might have immunity components that can protect them from reinfection against the viral disease or reduce its severity.
What do we know about COVID antibodies so far?
There have been many thoughts on COVID immunity. Experts are not very sure how long this protection could last as it might vary in the way the immunity has developed whether it is infection-based natural immunity or one developed from vaccination or a combination of both what is called hybrid immunity. As per some studies, previous COVID infection and vaccination doses did not provide much protection against the new variants as they did for the original infection. It means that if a person has been sick with COVID-19 original strains, they can contact the new variants as well. Some studies have shown that a phenomenon called immune evasion can occur in the body where immunity where Omicron variants can go undetected by antibodies.
With vaccines and booster doses, people are less likely to suffer from severe symptoms and they reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.
Long COVID and autoantibodies
It has been observed that people who had autoantibodies or the kind of antibodies associated with disorders like lupus and other autoimmune disorders where the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues, these people are at a higher risk of developing long COVID. They have been seen as an important indicator in developing long COVID symptoms.