Even mild coronavirus infection can develop antibodies

An early study in France has shown that even the people with minor or very mild coronavirus infection would develop antibodies that can immunise them for several weeks or more.

This was done by testing hospital staff with mild infections of Covid-19. The researchers believe that the results seemed “encouraging” as very little is known yet about the mechanisms of immunity against the novel coronavirus, especially in people with minor forms of the disease.

“We knew that people with severe forms of the disease developed antibodies within 15 days of the onset of symptoms,” said Arnaud Fontanet, head of the global health department at the Institut Pasteur, which conducted the research with the University Hospital in Strasbourg.

“We now know that this is also true for those who develop minor forms, even if the rates of antibodies are probably weaker.”

The study was carried out on 160 members of staff at two hospital sites in Strasbourg who had all tested positive for COVID-19 and suffered mild forms of the disease.

Olivier Schwartz, head of Pasteur’s virus and immunity unit, said the objective would now be to monitor the “persistence of the antibody response and their capacity to neutralise” the virus over the longer term.


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