Researchers in the United Kingdom have found that most people who become infected with the coronavirus still have high levels of antibodies for at least six months after their recovery.
The study of 20,000 people was conducted by UK Biobank, with the results published on Wednesday. The scientists discovered that among subjects who previously tested positive for COVID-19, 99 percent had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 three months after being infected, and after six months, 88 percent still had antibodies.
Naomi Allen, professor and chief scientist at UK Biobank, told reporters during a news conference that these numbers are consistent with findings from earlier studies carried out in the UK and Iceland. "Although we cannot be certain how this relates to immunity, the results suggest that people may be protected against subsequent infection for at least six months following natural infection," she said. "More prolonged follow-up will allow us to determine how long such protection is likely to last."
The study began last May, and UK Biobank found that the proportion of the population with COVID-19 antibodies rose from 6.6 percent at the start of the study to 8.8 percent by the end of the year.