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Antibodies to COVID-19 fall by half in less than 90 days, and antibody levels peak lower and fall faster in younger adults, an ongoing study of staff at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has revealed.

Swab testing in the OUH laboratories © Jon Lewis, Oxford Hospitals Charity

The findings, published on the pre-print server medRxiv, also showed that antibodies to the virus last longer in people who have had symptoms, and fade quicker in those who were asymptomatic.

The paper – ‘The duration, dynamics and determinants of SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in individual healthcare workers’ – presents six months of data from a longitudinal seroprevalence study of 3,217 OUH healthcare workers who have attended more than once for antibody testing.

They were among some 10,000 staff across OUH’s four hospitals who have been tested both for presence of the virus responsible for COVID-19 and antibodies to the virus, to give an accurate picture of who among the OUH workforce had had coronavirus infection. The study is a major collaboration between OUH and the University of Oxford, with support from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

By measuring antibody responses in the same healthcare workers for up to six months, the researchers could follow what happens to antibody levels over time and how this varied between different people.

The full story is available on the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre website

It is also featured on the Nuffield Department of Population Health website