February 25, 2021

Association of COVID-19 positive antibody test with future risk of infection

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, finds that individuals who are antibody positive for COVID-19 based on commercial assays, versus those who are antibody negative, are at decreased risk of future COVID-19 infection.

In this analysis of 3,257,478 patients with an index antibody test, 88.3% were antibody negative and 11.6% were antibody positive.


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Over a 90-day follow-up, the ratio of positive nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) results in antibody-positive patients versus antibody-negative patients was substantially lower—an approximately 10-fold decrease—suggesting a protective effect of antibodies.

The duration of protection (10-fold) is comparable to that observed in the efficacy reports of mRNA vaccines in large clinical trials, the researchers say.

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