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Virus immunity may disappear within months: study

18 Comments
By Patrick GALEY

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The article (and the study) are wrong for one very important point. antibodies are not a perfect surrogate for immunity.

Here they are treated as if they were both the same thing, so if antibodies levels disappear then the person would have no immunity. That is false. In reality there are many different kinds of acquired immunity mechanisms that protect people, and none of those other factors were examined in the study. People can still be well protected even without neutralizing antibodies, which would be what the epidemiological data would indicate, if the research found that so many of the patients have reduced antibodies it would make sense to see frequently people being reinfected when remaining on a high risk environment, but that is not the case.

There are other viruses that are neutralized by immune responses different from antibodies, and there are many other more where the antibodies appear again without problem to stop the complications (thus making any new infection just a mild cold at much). Until anybody can prove this is not the case you cannot validly say that immunity disappears, you can only say that antibodies do.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I was going to say what virusrex said, except not as eloquently.

Other articles have pointed out that a high level of antibodies is not necessary to show acquired immunity. Even a low level of antibodies to Covid-19, or any other viral disease, can indicate that the body is ready to produce antibodies at the level needed to ward off another infection. While this is not a proven hypothesis, neither is the hypotheses that antibodies do not provide protection. In fact, with most viral diseases, recovery from the disease is accompanied by immunity, whatever level of antibodies are present in the body after recovery.

If someone wants to make the claim that antibodies to Covid-19, or any other disease, do not confer immunity, then let them do the science and demonstrate that claim, since the science over the last hundred years is contrary.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It looks like these "experts" are trying to push onto us the vaccine. I am no immunology expert, but according to the textbook I use for my lectures, it is typical for antibodies to decrease greatly after about a month, but that the body retains memory B cells (they can last a lifetime) that respond rapidly to a second infection to produce large quantities of the same antibodies.

About the vaccine, I recommend you check this out, especially the part about vaccine research for the previous SARS COV(1):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX95m5kXMBU

I certainly will not take the vaccine (if ever they make one).

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

It looks like these "experts" are trying to push onto us the vaccine. 

There is no need, a deadly disease that can complicate up to the point of death is doing it just fine. If anything, the misrepresentation of immunity as if only antibodies could confer it would do the opposite, because the most common argument for vaccines is precisely the production of neutralizing antibodies.

And no, a terribly researched documentary filled with demonstrable lies and mistakes, from someone that either don't understand the topic or purposefully lies to deceive people that don't know better is definitely not something worth recommending,

Anything that keeps pushing the lie that vaccines causes autism even against the mountains of evidence that clearly say this is not true should be ignored as worthless.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@Raw Beer

On the one hand:

Research team at King's College, London

Professor of Molecular Oncology, University ofWarwick

Clinical Lecturer at Warwick Medical School

On the other hand:

Crap documentary on Youtube.

I know which 'experts' I trust.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Need to look where the funding for these studies come from...drug companies trying to push vaccines on people perhaps.

Billions of people taking a vaccine. That's allotta money

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Need to look where the funding for these studies come from...drug companies trying to push vaccines on people perhaps.

Because the data they find makes the opposite point? sure, that is reasonable.

Billions of people taking a vaccine. That's allotta money

You know what is even more money? a few tens of thousands being hospitalized, that is much more important and stable source of profit that vaccines, so if your unjustified and wrong suspicions were actually right the companies would push people away from vaccines in order to make more money.

Thinking about it... are you being sponsored by any chance?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why is so difficult for all people to understand that this SARS-Covid 19 is a flu?

You DO NOT get immunity after been infected once. You can get flu many times in your life.

That is exactly the same for this virus

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Why is so difficult for all people to understand that this SARS-Covid 19 is a flu?

The main reason is because it is false. It is not a flu, it has not changed serotype even once during the time it has been present, it has not recombined since becoming adapted to humans, antibodies from patients all over the world neutralize every strain that has been tested, and nothing indicates gained immunity is not going to be effective to further exposure.

Coronaviridae is extremely different from Orthomyxoviridae, your assumption requires data that you don't have, so there is no need to believe you against the professional opinion of the people that contradict you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@virusrex

The article (and the study) are wrong for one very important point. antibodies are not a perfect surrogate for immunity.

I don't think it's fair to say the article is "wrong". The point of the article (and study) is to say we should not be placing all bets on immunity saving the day. This is a perfectly valid argument.

if the research found that so many of the patients have reduced antibodies it would make sense to see frequently people being reinfected when remaining on a high risk environment, but that is not the case. 

How do you know reinfection is not / won't be frequent? Still too early no? Not to mention primary infections are under-reported and secondary infections likely will be even more so given many will handle it better the second time around.

There are other viruses that are neutralized by immune responses different from antibodies, and there are many other more where the antibodies appear again without problem to stop the complications (thus making any new infection just a mild cold at much).

Yes. But this is not immunity is it. They are reinfected and thus able to infect others.

Until anybody can prove this is not the case you cannot validly say that immunity disappears, you can only say that antibodies do.

You're clearly well versed in science and viruses, so surely you would agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wasn't this news a few weeks ago?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think it's fair to say the article is "wrong". The point of the article (and study) is to say we should not be placing all bets on immunity saving the day. This is a perfectly valid argument

They are still wrong, you cannot assay one single variant of the immunity and then generalize the results as if every other known mechanism of importance was absent, that is bad science and leads to unjustified conclusions. If they wanted to talk about immunity in general they should have done a much more comprehensive research.

Is like recording wheter houses have a large dog, and then announcing that every house that don't is "without security".

How do you know reinfection is not / won't be frequent? Still too early no? Not to mention primary infections are under-reported and secondary infections likely will be even more so given many will handle it better the second time around.

It is not believable that with extremely detailed records in many places around the world nobody ever recorded recovered patients again being hospitalized with the disease. And no, the decrease of antibodies is not a perfectly flat line with 100% of the patients above protective levels that suddenly drops to 84% at 3 months, its a gradually decreasing for some even withing the same month, so there is plenty of time from march to observe and report at least some cases, if they were present. Statistically speaking sooner or later some cases must happen, because immunity in general is not guaranteed, but the lack of cases until now is quite evident and contrary to the results reported, if antibodies where the sole determinant of protected.

Yes. But this is not immunity is it. They are reinfected and thus able to infect others.

One, yes it is immunity, that is what happens with acquired immunity, strictly speaking even huge concentrations of antibodies or cytokines can't stop the first few cycles of the new primary infection, what they stop is the generalized process, with or without symptoms depending on the disease and the immunity.

Two, reinfection is not equal to spreading, if people have abortive infections because of immunity (and that is assuming only antibodies are responsible, which we now know it is not the case) it can still be expected that the virus shedding is reduced or even stopped completely.

Even with a limited reinfection with reduced levels of shedding, you can still get the advantages of herd immunity, it just become much harder to calculate the necessary values to reach it.

You're clearly well versed in science and viruses, so surely you would agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

Which is irrelevant, I did not say that its impossible that immunity disappears, only that at this point it is not valid to say this happens, because that requires a much higher degree of proof. Paraphrasing, evidence of absence of antibodies is not evidence of absence of protective immunity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@virusrex

I won't go through point by point with counter arguments. Let's take a step back. You are getting hung up on finer details and in doing so missing the point. This article/study is not making any conclusive claims. It is merely cautioning against making decisions/policy based on hopes and dreams. You are claiming there is not sufficient evidence to suggest immunity "will" disappear. But the study only suggests it "may" disappear. Just like there is not sufficient evidence to say it "will" disappear, there is also not sufficient evidence to say it "won't" disappear. There's a bunch of smart people working on this around the world. The smartest of which are the ones who admit, "we don't know yet".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I suggest all of you look at the following article on the vaccine created by Oxford University in England. It causes the immune system to generate both anti-bodies and more critically T-cells to combat the virus. While antibodies fade in time, T-cells do not. This is the most promising vaccine out there;

https://www.biospace.com/article/astrazeneca-s-early-covid-19-vaccine-data-show-a-double-defense-against-the-virus/?utm_campaign=GenePool&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=91520047&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-95gFb3hJRIrO-CR6okbf22fv2zY23EkkDGD82wP-WJdrxeASS42E-Plu5AjlovvIoEyLZERqEhUbv0DcsjY6McDdSBqw&utm_content=91520047&utm_source=hs_email

William James ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I won't go through point by point with counter arguments. Let's take a step back. You are getting hung up on finer details and in doing so missing the point. This article/study is not making any conclusive claims. It is merely cautioning against making decisions/policy based on hopes and dreams

The article is supposedly trying to describe the immune response, but the results described only look to a single part and overgeneralize, the decisions/policy recommendations are just a repetition of what has been told until now which its obvious since the development of a vaccine is not even something that will be done in the short term.

You are claiming there is not sufficient evidence to suggest immunity "will" disappear. But the study only suggests it "may" disappear. Just like there is not sufficient evidence to say it "will" disappear, there is also not sufficient evidence to say it "won't" disappear.

If that were the case all the results discussed are irrelevant, as I mentioned epidemiological data points clearly towards the opposite direction and that is the minimum that someone has to include if you are going to argue against long term protection.

It is scientifically dishonest to misrepresent your results as more important than they are, and that is my problem with this article, they could have argued the same with a 5 line note simply saying that immunity is not something we can take for granted and that would have been fine with me, but looking exclusively to antibodies and saying "see, immunity disappear!" is simply wrong. Specially because even a postgraduate student or a resident on immunology knows that cellular immunity can fulfill that role without trouble, both the scientists and the media have a responsibility to include this in the discussion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Virus immunity may disappear within months: study

If that is the case, developing a vaccine is pointless. Good thing that there is also intensive research into treatments, not just vaccines.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't know what people are going about here. We didn't have vaccines in the past but we survived nevertheless. Viruses and bacteria are the indigenous occupants of the planet. We existed before us and they will exist after us. In this regard they deserve respect and protection. Poor little things, shame nobody loves them...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know what people are going about here. We didn't have vaccines in the past but we survived nevertheless.

What are you on about? Covid 19 has only been around For a few months. How did we survive it before?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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