“This is a critical issue with profound implications for vaccine development, public health strategies, antibody-based therapeutics, and epidemiologic modeling of herd immunity.” –Harvard University researchers
In all the excitement over the potential for a quick vaccine to prevent COVID-19, one burning question has emerged: Are the antibodies that form in response to the virus adequate for fending of future infections? Scientists led by Harvard University have published two studies that they believe begin to answer that question.
In one study, nine macaques that were infected with SARS CoV-2 and then recovered were protected against the disease when they were exposed to it again 35 days later. The team showed the animals had developed neutralizing antibodies, which prevent the virus from infecting healthy cells. In separate research, 35 macaques received DNA vaccines developed at Harvard and showed similar immune responses as the animals involved in the first study did. The papers were published in the journal Science.
People who recover from many viruses typically form antibodies that protect them against future infections—but not always, the Harvard team pointed out in one of the studies. And COVID-19 is so new that no one knows to what degree people who have antibodies against the disease are protected.Learn More