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Coronavirus antibodies decline after infection, study finds, raising questions about herd immunity

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Researchers from Imperial College London screened 365,000 people in England over three rounds of testing between June 20 and September 28. Analysis of finger-prick tests carried out at home found that, rather than people building immunity over time, the number of people with antibodies that can fight #Covid19 declined roughly 26% over the study period.

Our study shows that over time there is a reduction in the proportion of people testing positive for antibodies,” said Professor Paul Elliott, director of the Real Time Assessment of Community Transmission program at Imperial, and one of the authors of the study.

“Testing positive for antibodies does not mean you are immune to COVID-19. It remains unclear what level of immunity antibodies provide, or for how long this immunity lasts,” he continued.

“If someone tests positive for antibodies, they still need to follow national guidelines including social distancing measures, getting a swab test if they have symptoms and wearing face coverings where required.”

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