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Older consumers produce more COVID-19 antibodies than younger people, study finds

Antibodies can be detected for months after initial infection

COVID-19 concept with older man and doctor
Photo (c) bymuratdeniz - Getty Images
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Montreal explored different types of immunity to COVID-19. According to their findings, consumers over age 50 who become infected with COVID-19 are more likely to have higher antibody levels to protect against the virus than younger adults. 

“Everyone who had been infected produced antibodies, but older people produced more than adults under 50 years of age,” said researcher Jean-François Masson. “In addition, antibodies were still present in their bloodstream 16 weeks after their diagnosis.” 

Understanding virus immunity

The researchers monitored health outcomes and tracked the antibody levels of 32 adults who had tested positive for COVID-19 to determine their future protection against the virus. Their work showed that older participants were more likely to have higher levels of antibodies than the younger adults involved in the study. The team found that this type of protection against the virus lasted for up to four months after an initial infection. 

While the trial was conducted prior to the emergence of the Delta variant, the researchers learned that similar trends popped up when analyzing the participants’ blood samples against the newer strains of the virus. In looking at levels of antibodies and protection against infection, older adults showed greater immunity to the Delta variant than adults under age 50. 

“This was determined by measuring the antibodies’ capacity to inhibit the interaction of the Delta variant’s spike protein with the ACE-2 receptor in human cells, which is how we become infected,” said researcher Joelle Pelletier. “We didn’t observe the same phenomenon with the other variants.” 

The researchers explained that being vaccinated has been linked to the greatest antibody response to any strain of COVID-19, but more work still needs to be done to best understand how consumers can protect themselves from the virus. 

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