Why doesn’t positive antibodies for new coronaviruss mean immunity?

A common misconception about the new coronavirus is that people who are believed to have tested positive for the new coronavirus antibody are now immune to the virus,media reported. But the reality is that not all antibodies prevent people who have previously had symptoms from developing more severe symptoms later on. The Knowridge Science Report recently interviewed Jonathan Fogle, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at North Carolina State University.

Why doesn't positive antibodies for new coronaviruss mean immunity?

Antibodies can bind themselves to pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, preventing pathogens from entering cells, multiplying, and ultimately causing damage. What’s more, antibodies can help trigger a broader immune response that allows the body to effectively eliminate pathogens that would otherwise cause huge harm to humans. Therefore, it is a natural assumption that people who test positive for the new coronavirus antibody are immune to the virus. Fogle cautions, however, that this is not the case.

Fogle explains that the quality of antibodies produced by people can vary greatly. As a result, people who produce weaker antibodies may be susceptible to reinfection. Some people may also produce fewer antibodies than others.

In any population, our antibody response to pathogens varies greatly individually in quantity, type, and quality. Some people produce many high-quality antibodies that are well-identified and bind to the antigens involved. If this happens, the virus will be rapidly bound by antibodies and eliminated before it can cause infection.

While others produce antibodies, the binding effect on pathogens is not ideal. In this case, the antibodies can only partially protect: they slow down the virus, but the virus can still cause a degree of infection. Such people usually show some symptoms and shed the virus over a longer period of time.

There are also people who produce very little or poor quality antibodies. In this case, although these people will produce antibodies, but immunity is not very strong, so they will have a long-term infection, symptoms are more serious. They are also likely to be infected again at a later point in time. This is also a big unknown for this new coronavirus. What percentage of people belong to this group?

Similarly, Dr. Edward Ryan, director of the Global Infectious Diseases Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently explained that “not all antibodies are the same.” “

“Whether patients with antibodies will get sick again because of SARS-CoV-2,” Dr. John Iafrate, a professor of pathology at Harvard, said a few weeks ago. And we won’t know for a while. “

The unfortunate reality is that unless a vaccine is developed, the new coronavirus may still be a persistent problem. In fact, many doctors and researchers expect a second wave of coronaviruses to hit later this year. While vaccines may be developed, even the most optimistic health professionals say effective vaccines may not be available until 2021 at the earliest.

Why doesn't positive antibodies for new coronaviruss mean immunity?