Immunity passports may not be viable since COVID-19 antibodies last two to three months

The short duration of the COVID-19 antibodies throws into doubt the concept of immunity passports for this illness, as those who caught the disease could potentially catch it again. This is especially true if they were asymptomatic the first time around, as those patients had a shorter duration of antibodies, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Dara Lo, Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData, notes: “The term ‘immunity passport’ is completely misleading. The correlation between a positive result for a COVID-19 test and protective immunity to the novel coronavirus is unproven. Simply having been infected with COVID-19 does not equal immunity. For COVID-19, researchers do not know yet how much antibody in a person is required to be protective, nor how long that protection might last.”

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, adds: “This could imply that vaccinations might need to be more often than the once-a-year, which is the suggested duration of potential COVID-19 vaccines required to achieve herd immunity, as past research on coronaviruses has indicated a three to six-month immunity range. 

“This could also affect the usefulness of adenovirus-vectored vaccines such as AstraZeneca, CanSino, ImmunityBio, J&J, Altimmune, Stabilitech BioPharma and Vaxart. Adenovirus-vectored vaccines should only be administered two times over the lifetime of an individual, since repeated administration can cause the generation of neutralizing antibodies to attack the adenovirus vector present in the vaccine and reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine, or any vaccine based on a similar vector.

“More research on immunity duration to COVID-19 is needed to determine if the antibodies present provide immunity to future infections and how quickly the virus is changing.”

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