Study: Some COVID-19 patients from spring still have antibodies

A drive-in coronavirus testing station in Saare County.
A drive-in coronavirus testing station in Saare County. Source: Margus Muld/ERR

A coronavirus antibody study conducted by Kuressaare Hospital at the end of 2020 shows that 17 percent of the more than 3,600 study participants still have antibodies after going through the coronavirus in the spring.

On May 11 2020, family doctors in Saare County (Saaremaa) and Õismäe, a residential district of Tallinn, invited volunteers to a coronavirus antibody study organized by the University of Tartu. The study, called KoroSero-EST, initially showed that the virus actually spread further than official statistics showed during the first wave.

As a follow-up to a previous KoroSero-EST-1 study, the University of Tartu conducted a seroprevalence study looking into the persistence of coronavirus antibodies, the school announced on February 8. The study showed that nearly 80 percent of COVID-19 patients who were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms had antibodies eight months after being cleared from the virus

The presence of antibodies was detected among 614 residents of Saare County - 17 percent of the total 3,611 participants.

Kuressaare Hospital would like to continue the research in order to find out how long antibodies persist in COVID-19 patients' bodies. "I think the people who have antibodies will not likely fall ill during this wave. But there is no 100 percent guarantee here. And when it comes to safety measures, we must all still follow them," said Dr Edward Laane, chief of Kuressaare Hospital.

"We had an employee a couple of days ago who gave a positive antibody test, meaning they have had positive antibodies for 11 months. So we can conclude that some people have long-lasting immunity, but it does not mean everyone has it. You do not actually need antibodies in large amounts for this coronavirus. The main thing is having them at all," Laane added.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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