What do antibodies do to protect against COVID-19? – Community News

What do antibodies do to protect against COVID-19?


There’s a lot of talk about COVID-19 antibodies – how we develop them, how long they last, and what they can do to protect us from severe symptoms of COVID-19. We are here to break down the answers to these questions on behalf of Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center’s Center for STOP-COVID (Serological Testing to Improve Outcomes from COVID-19), an interdisciplinary research effort to study the long-term effects of COVID-19. 19.

What are antibodies?

Antibodies are specialized proteins that are part of your immune system. They help protect against viruses, bacteria and other foreign substances.

In the case of COVID-19, after you are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, your immune system recognizes the virus as a foreign substance and forms antibodies against it. These antibodies provide a measure of protection against future infections, as they will recognize the virus as a danger and prompt your immune system to attack it.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine help with the production of antibodies?

COVID-19 vaccines work by exposing your immune system to an antigen similar to a piece of the spike protein found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. The antigen stimulates your immune cells to develop antibodies against the spike protein.

If you are later exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, your immune cells recognize the spike protein as a foreign invader and activate your immune system to attack the virus. This usually results in no infection at all or a “breakthrough” infection. Breakthrough infections are infections in patients who have been vaccinated, and they usually lead to much milder symptoms than you would have had without the vaccine.

Can anyone develop antibodies?

People with weakened immune systems have a lower ability to develop a strong immune response after vaccination. That’s why people who fall into this group, as well as others with certain medical conditions, may be eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. You should consult your primary care provider to decide what is best for you.

Can I be tested to determine my antibody level? Which level is considered ‘positive’?

There are several types of tests available that can determine if you have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. You can call this serology test. A positive antibody test may indicate that you have had a COVID-19 infection or that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Antibody testing is not recommended to diagnose COVID-19, monitor response to vaccination, or determine the need for vaccination in an unvaccinated individual.

Antibody Testing is used to determine whether a person has had an infection with SARS-CoV-2 in the past. It may be recommended for public health use or if anyone without a documented history of COVID-19 is showing potential complications from COVID-19, to confirm whether they have actually become infected at any given time.

Because of the way different types of antibody tests are performed, we don’t look at a specific number or level to determine whether a person has an adequate level of protection. But we can determine whether a person has antibodies or not, and depending on the type of test, we can determine whether the antibody level is low or high.

More information:

What level of antibodies do I need to be protected against COVID-19?

When we think of COVID-19, we think of antibody levels in a qualitative sense, rather than a quantitative sense: a higher antibody level generally gives you more protection than a lower level, but there is no specific level of antibodies that means you are completely immune to COVID-19. 19. Your level of protection against COVID-19 may depend on other factors, such as if you are exposed to a particular SARS-CoV-2 variant.

An antibody test measures only part of our complex immune response to COVID-19.

Can I be tested to see which COVID-19 variant(s) I have developed antibodies against?

No, there is currently no commercial test available that can determine which variant(s) you have antibodies against. However, it is very likely that antibodies produced by exposure to one COVID-19 variant will help protect you against other variants.

Will my breast milk antibodies be passed on to my baby and provide my baby with some protection?

A mother can pass COVID-19 antibodies to her baby through her breast milk. This can provide the baby with some degree of protection against COVID-19 infection. Visit these sites to learn more from Ohio State experts on COVID-19 and pregnancy and breastfeeding.

More about COVID-19 and pregnancy and breastfeeding

What is monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19?

Monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment may be an option for some people with COVID-19, especially early in the disease. Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies that are developed in a lab and marketed by pharmaceutical companies to mimic a person’s natural antibodies. Treatments with monoclonal antibodies can bind to the virus and prevent it from infecting cells.

If you have COVID-19, talk to your healthcare team to see if you are a candidate for monoclonal antibody treatment.

More about monoclonal antibodies, from HHS.gov

Laura Rush is the director of the Learning Health System Core at the Ohio State University Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics and Systems Thinking (CATALYST). Courtney Hebert is an infectious disease physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Ohio State University College of Medicine.

The Center to STOP-COVID is funded by a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Cancer Institute in the National Institutes of Health. Visit the center’s website to learn more about the team and their latest research discoveries.