New study provides clarity on COVID-19 antibodies

Photo courtesy to Illinois Public Media

By Acacia Hernández

A recent study released last earlier this month found that COVID-19 antibodies can last up to four months.  Antibodies are immune proteins that can block reinfection upon exposure, according to The New England Journal of Medicine.

Franky Bongiovanni, a senior at UI, had coronavirus a month and a half ago and feels safer on campus knowing he has antibodies, but continues to practice COVID-19 guidelines as if he did not have them.

“I do this because there is still much uncertainty about antibodies and how different amounts of antibodies affect your immunity against Sars-CoV-2,” Bongiovanni said.

Amidst confusion about antibodies, doctors Galit Alter and Robert Seder said in a commentary that this study monitored antibody levels and durability over four months, whereas previous studies profiled antibody kinetics for only 28 days.

Though this study provided hope that immunity to the virus might not be as fleeting, health departments across the nation continue to operate as if antibodies didn’t exist.

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District made Bongiovanni quarantine for two weeks after arriving on campus due to coming in contact with someone who tested positive. He said having antibodies did not help his case and for this reason, he continues to stay as cautious as possible.

During a time when case numbers are quickly rising on campus, Bongiovanni enforces mask wearing and hand sanitizing as much as possible to mitigate risk.

“Because my family’s case was so mild, and at the same time there were also many extreme cases, I thought it was best to follow social distancing and CDC guidelines completely,” he said. It is uncertain how having antibodies will affect other college students’ decision making through the remainder of the semester.