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Antibodies from other coronaviruses contribute to asymptomatic and mild COVID-19

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

A new study suggests that people who have had mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 have more antibodies to other coronaviruses than those who have had the symptomatic illness.

People who have had covid without symptoms have higher titers of antibodies to other coronaviruses than people who have had covid with symptoms. 

Spanish scientists came to this conclusion when they analyzed how the levels of antibodies in the blood of medical workers changed during six months of observation. 

The researchers believe that antibodies against other coronaviruses protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection and make the covid flow easier. 

The work was published in Nature Communications.

The coronavirus family includes 43 species that infect humans and animals. Seven species are characteristic of humans, and not all of them cause severe pneumonia. 

When infected with coronaviruses HKU1, 229E, OC43 and NL63 in humans, the nasopharynx is affected, and the disease is relatively mild. These coronaviruses are responsible for 10 percent of SARS every year, so antibodies to them are found in a large number of people, although it is not known exactly how long this protection lasts. 

The S and N antigen regions in SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses are largely homologous to each other, so there is a high probability of antibody cross-reaction between coronaviruses. 

Scientists have discovered that people with recent coronavirus infection (caused by non-COVID-19) have a reduced risk of hospitalization and death from SARS-CoV-2.

Spanish researchers led by Carlota Dobaño from the University of Barcelona studied blood samples from 578 medical workers to understand how long antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 remain in the blood and how the presence of antibodies to other coronaviruses affects the course of covid. 

Blood tests were taken from the participants from April 2020 to October 2020: at the beginning of the study, and then 1, 3, and 6 months. Antibodies to coronaviruses were determined in the blood of the participants, and data on the course of covid were obtained both from surveys and from electronic databases of hospitals.

At the beginning of the experiment, 13.5 percent of the participants had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, and six months later, 16.4 percent of the participants. Antibody levels were stable during this time, with the exception of nucleocapsid IgG and IgM.

Scientists selected 33 people who had had covid during the study period. They additionally looked at the levels of antibodies to other coronaviruses (229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1). It turned out that in those people who had mild covid disease, the IgG antibody titer to other coronaviruses at the beginning of the study was significantly higher than in those participants who developed symptoms of the disease (p <0.05). 

However, people with symptomatic covid had higher levels of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 after illness (p <0.05). The researchers also found an inverse correlation between IgA and IgG levels for coronaviruses 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 and an increase in antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (p <0.05). This indicates that pre-existing antibodies to coronaviruses are encouraging the body to produce fewer antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

Based on this, scientists argue that people with another coronavirus infection have a reduced risk of hospitalization, as well as mortality from SARS-CoV-2.

It was also found that existing antibodies to coronaviruses contribute to the production of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the body.

That is, antibodies from other coronaviruses protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection, and also provide an easier course of COVID-19.

Image Credit: Getty

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