Covid antibodies last at least six months after infection, study shows

COVID-19 antibodies last at least six months after infection, a new study has claimed.

Using monthly blood samples from 20,000 people, UK Biobank discovered almost nine per cent of the UK had caught the bug by December.

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This means nearly six million Brits were infected with Covid in the first nine months of the pandemic.

The results from the study come after it was today revealed that just one dose of the Oxford/AstraZenenca jab could slash transmission rates and stop people spreading the virus.

Experts found there was a 67 per cent drop in positive swabs among those already vaccinated. 

So far in the UK over 10 million people have had a first dose of a Covid vaccine with nearly half a million having had their second.

Researchers published their latest findings in Preprints with The Lancet, on Tuesday.

The experts also revealed just one jab gives 76 per cent protection for three months.


Scientists working on the BioBank research also found antibodies in people previously infected six months after they were ill.

The researchers found that 99 per cent of participants who had previously contracted the virus had retained antibodies for three months after being infected with 88 per cent retaining them for six months.

This means there could be a degree of protection against reinfection for at least half a year.

The capital saw the highest level of infection, according to the study, with 12.4 per cent of Londoners having antibodies.

It also found 43 per cent of people with antibodies had reported losing their sense of taste and smell.

A loss of taste and smell (anosmia) is one of the key coronavirus symptoms alongside a new persistent cough and a high temperature.

Anosmia was added to the official symptoms list in May last year after a large amount of patients said they had suffered with the symptom.

If you have any of the above symptoms then you should get a test and isolate immediately.

The study also found that a quarter who had been infected showed no symptoms at all.

Experts had previously stated that around a third of Covid patients were asymptomatic – meaning that you can have the virus with no symptoms and unwittingly spread it to others.

Testing was rolled out in several areas across the country yesterday with every one in places such as Surrey and Merseyside being urged to take a test – regardless of whether they had symptoms or not.

People were urged to go to testing sites while others had kits posted to them after cases of the South African variant were detected.

 

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government chief scientific adviser, said: “These latest results provide useful confirmation of the maintenance of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 over six months.”

UK Biobank chief scientist Professor Naomi Allen said: “This important study has revealed that the vast majority of people retain detectable antibodies for at least six months after infection with the coronavirus.

“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.”

It comes amid fears that the virus is mutating to evade the immune response – and vaccines.

The UK's Kent Covid strain has acquired a mutation similar to the South African variant, and could resist jabs, official reports revealed.

Public Health England have detected 11 cases in Bristol where the Kent variant has mutated to “escape” immune response.

Yesterday, it was announced Covid testing will be extended to two more areas after new Covid mutations were identified.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that 11 cases of "mutations of concern" have been detected in Bristol with another 32 found in Liverpool.

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