The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been the institution Americans have consistently turned to for guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As the CDC regularly updates their recommendations and information surrounding the virus, most of us adjust accordingly. However, until recently, the CDC has not had much to say about one of the public’s most burning questions: How long does COVID immunity last when you have antibodies? Now, the CDC says that individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are safe from getting the virus again for up to three months.
The updated guidance on quarantine protocols in released at the beginning of August states: “People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to three months as long as they do not develop symptoms again,” implying some level of immunity during that period of time as a result of antibodies. And according to The New York Times, this is the first time the agency has officially acknowledged COVID-19 immunity could last for at least three months.
The length of time antibodies stay with those recovered from COVID has been a hotly debated issue, but more clarity on the topic could help experts understand how our immunity develops and ultimately aid in creating a vaccine. A study published in Nature Medicine in June found that, in many people, antibodies from COVID-19 infection start to decline after two or three months, which supports the CDC’s most recent claim.
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However, some experts believe there is potential that antibodies last much longer than a few months. A 2007 study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases looked at how long antibodies from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) endured in the body. The results should that SARS antibodies lasted, on average, two years. Throughout the pandemic, researchers have consulted studies on SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) due to their similarity to COVID-19. Therefore experts hope that SARS antibodies’ ability to last two years is a promising sign that the ones from COVID-19 may be able to sustain for longer just a few short months. And for more information on how your body protects you from coronavirus, check out It Turns Out, We All May Have Some Immunity to COVID, New Study Shows.