A “very large majority” of patients with a minor form of the COVID-19 develops antibodies which could then immunize “for several weeks” against the disease, according to a study from the Pasteur Institute and the CHU of Strasbourg.
These results are “encouraging,” to the extent that little is known about the mechanisms of immunity against the novel coronavirus, especially among people with mild forms of the disease.
“We knew that people with severe forms of the disease develop antibodies within 15 days following the beginning of signs. We now know that this is also true for those who are forms of the minor, even if the antibody levels are more likely to be low “, explains in a press release one of the authors of the study, Arnaud Fontanet, head of the department of global Health at the Institut Pasteur.
“Our study shows that the levels of antibodies are, in most cases, consistent with a protection against a new infection by SARS-CoV-2, at least up to 40 days after the beginning of signs “, adds Olivier Schwartz, head of the unit Virus and immunity to Pastor.
According to him, “now the goal is to evaluate the long-term persistence of the antibody response and neutralization capacity” of the virus.
The study, whose results were published on Saturday and which Pastor was release on Tuesday, was conducted on 160 patients, members of the hospital staff to two sites of the university hospitals of Strasbourg. They were all suffering from mild forms of the COVID-19.
Tests serology (which is intended to detect after the fact the signs of an infection in the past) have shown that almost all of these individuals (153 or 159 160 depending on the type of test) developed antibodies within 15 days following the onset of the infection.
Another test was used to determine if these antibodies had the capacity to neutralize the virus. Verdict : 28 days after the onset of symptoms, 98 % of patients had developed these ” neutralizing antibodies “.
“These results are also good news for future vaccine strategies “, stressed the Pr Samira Fafi-Kremer, head of the department virology, University Hospital of Strasbourg, and first author of the study, also quoted in the press release.