Six months after corona infection, antibodies are still present in 9 out of 10 people


This is evident from the latest results of the special, ongoing investigation that RIVM is conducting into the corona virus. The study mainly looks at the build-up of immunity against the virus.

Antibodies form the body’s natural defense against viral infections. They ensure that the body recognizes the virus as an intruder and can clean it up. “In general, the more antibodies in the blood, the better the body is protected against a virus,” explains the RIVM.

Body recognizes virus

The presence of antibodies after six months is therefore good news, according to lead researcher Fiona van der Klis of the RIVM. “Although we do not know how many antibodies are needed to stop being or becoming infected with the corona virus, the fact that we were able to detect antibodies so long after the first infection means that the body could recognize the virus.”

According to Van der Klis, the fact that the antibodies are getting stronger means that they can bind better to the virus to fight it. “Think of a magnet with paper clips attached: the stronger the magnet, the stronger the paper clips will stick to it. That also happens with antibodies, which become stronger.”

With the new coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2), it is not yet entirely clear to what extent people who have ever been infected with the virus will be protected against it afterwards, and for how long. Many examples of people who have become infected for a second time have already been described.

5 percent infected

After the first round of the special RIVM investigation, held in April and May, it appeared that almost 3 percent of the Dutch must have had the virus among their members. After the second round (June and July) that percentage had risen to 4.5.

After the third round (September and October, but before the peak of the second wave) it was about 5 percent. “If we were to conduct the study now,” says Van der Klis, “the percentage would undoubtedly be higher.”


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