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Natural COVID-19 antibodies keep children protected for at least seven months – new research

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UTHealth Houston researchers found that children who had previously been infected with COVID-19 had natural circulating antibodies that lasted for at least seven months.

The research was published in the journal Pediatrics today.

Researchers looked at data from 218 children aged 5 to 19 from around Texas who were recruited in the Texas CARES study, which began in October 2020 with the purpose of tracking COVID-19 antibody status in a population of adults and children in Texas.

Three different blood draws were performed on volunteers who enrolled in the study. Before the vaccination was sent out, as well as during the Delta and Omicron types, samples were taken. Investigators have completed three phases of the study to date.

“This is the first study from the Texas CARES survey that includes data from all three time points in the survey,” says Sarah Messiah. “These findings are important because the information we collected from children infected with COVID-19 didn’t differ at all by whether a child was asymptomatic, severity of symptoms, when they had the virus, were at a healthy weight or had obesity, or by gender. It was the same for everyone.”

While 96 percent of those infected with COVID-19 had antibodies for up to seven months, more than half of the sample (58 percent) was negative for infection-induced antibodies at the third and final measurement. The impact of vaccination protection is not included in the findings.

According to Messiah, the findings are only the first stage in determining the virus’s impact on children. According to her, 14 million children in the United States have tested positive for the virus.

Natural infection, together with vaccine-induced protection, provides the strongest barrier against COVID-19, according to studies.

But “there has been a misunderstanding from some parents who think just because their child has had COVID-19, they are now protected and don’t need to get the vaccine,” adds the author.

“While our study is encouraging in that some amount natural antibodies last at least six months in children, we still don’t know the absolute protection threshold. We have a great tool available to give children additional protection by getting their vaccine, so if your child is eligible, take advantage of it.”

Image Credit: Getty

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