Understanding the persistence of antibody in convalescent COVID-19 patients may help to answer the current major concerns such as the risk of reinfection, the protection period of vaccination and the possibility of building an active herd immunity. This retrospective cohort study included 172 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized in Wuhan. A total of 404 serum samples were obtained over six months from hospitalization to convalescence. Antibodies in the specimens were quantitatively analyzed by the capture chemiluminescence immunoassays (CLIA). All patients were positive for the anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgG at the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, and the IgG antibody persisted in all the patients during the convalescence. However, only approximately 25% of patients can detect the IgM antibodies, IgM against N protein (N-IgM) and receptor binding domain of S protein (RBD-IgM) at the 27th week. The titers of IgM, N-IgM and RBD-IgM reduced to 16.7%, 17.6% and 15.2% of their peak values respectively. In contrast, the titers of IgG, N-IgG and RBD-IgG peaked at 4-5th week and reduced to 85.9%, 62.6% and 87.2% of their peak values respectively at the end of observation. Dynamic behavior of antibodies and their correlation in age, gender and severity groups were investigated. In general, the COVID-19 antibody was sustained at high levels for over six months in most of the convalescent patients. Only a few patients with antibody reducing to an undetectable level which needs further attention. The humoral immune response against SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID-19 patients exhibits a typical dynamic of acquired immunity.
Keywords: Convalescent; Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Humoral Responses; Sustainability.
© 2021. Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS.