A seropersistence study carried out on 306 HM Hospitales healthcare workers infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus reveals that the IgG antibodies generated after natural infection are maintained beyond 12 months. This is the main conclusion drawn from a study coordinated by the HM Hospitales Research Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Occupational Safety and the HM Hospitales Laboratory Service. The results have just been published in the ‘European Journal of Internal Medicine’, the official journal of the European Federation of Internal Medicine.
This is the first study to measure the evolution of the kinetics of antibodies developed to SARS-CoV-2 among healthcare professionals. Among them, the average age is 44.7 years and 69.9% are women. The estimated mean time in which protection is maintained after natural infection is 375 days after the initial detection of antibodies.
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The estimated mean time in which protection is safeguarded is 375 days after initial antibody detection
“The findings of the present study in healthcare workers can be extrapolated to the general population and provide very valuable data in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Dr. José F. Varona, of the internal medicine department of the Hospital Universitario HM Montepríncipe. He also points out that the antibodies generated by natural infection have an estimated average duration of at least 12 months.
In this study, the observation period of the workers involved was ten months. Thus, it reveals that 76.8% of the healthcare workers in the group studied maintained seropositivity levels beyond nine months after infection, but with a progressive reduction in antibody titers. Specifically, antibody titers decreased by 82%, while they remained stable in 13.1%.
More than 75% of the workers tested retained effective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 after nine months of follow-up
“During the study, which was carried out with differentiated cohorts studied at different periods since the beginning of the pandemic, two different dynamic antibody profiles were observed: one, more frequent, with a progressive decrease in antibody titer; and another, less frequent, of subjects who maintained stable antibody levels during almost ten months of follow-up,” Dr. Varona pointed out.
Determining factors for the IgG antibodies
This study reveals that the factors associated with a stable (non-descending) antibody profile and longer antibody duration were older age, higher initial antibody titers, and high exposure to Covid-19. That is, that suffered by front-line workers who assisted patients with Covid-19. Specifically, those with severe to moderate infection.
The factors associated with a stable and longer-lasting antibody profile were older age, higher initial antibody titers and high exposure to Covid-19. Thus, the results of the current study suggest an important role for serology in pandemic detection and monitoring. This information helps the scientific community understand the humoral response of healthcare workers exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
“Undoubtedly these results may have potential implications for the current vaccination strategy. In fact, we expect new results from this study with a longer time frame, specifically, with data extending to the second half of 2021, which will help us to better and more accurately understand the immune response to the disease,” concludes Dr. Varona.
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First published in iSanidad, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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