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Neutralizing Antibodies Against COVID-19 Found In 72% Samples: ICMR Study

The study found that antibodies were also present in asymptomatic patients. However, it also stated that role of antibodies in defending cells from virus and protection against reinfection needs to be studied further.

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A study conducted by the Indian Council Of Medical Research Institute found neutralizing antibodies against coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in nearly 72 per cent of the samples that were tested.

The study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR), found that antibodies were also present in asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. However, it also stated that the role of antibodies in defending cells from virus and protection against reinfection needs to be studied further.

The institute took 343 blood samples, of which 89 were positive and the rest 59 were negatives. Around 17 were cross-reactive, and 179 serum from healthy individuals were collected and tested at the National Institute of Virology in Pune from March to May.

Of the 89 COVID-19-positive patients, 59 (66.3%) were symptomatic, and 30 (33.7%) were asymptomatic.

The symptoms among 59 patients included cough, breathlessness, fever, sore throat, headache, diarrhoea and nasal discharge. However, 42 of them showed the presence of neutralizing antibodies, whereas, out of 30 asymptomatic patients, 22 showed the presence of antibodies.

The study states that understanding the presence of neutralizing antibodies and the role of cellular immune responses among COVID patients is essential, as it provides greater assurance of protection in the absence of an approved treatment.

"More systematic studies with controlled follow up of patients and titration of NAb among the recovered patients will provide useful information for passive antibody therapy against SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. Further, it is pertinent to study the protective role of NAb during reinfection in recovered COVID-19 patients," it further added.

Experts, however, said that detecting the presence of antibodies will not serve the purpose. The quality of these antibodies and the immunity they offer against the disease and for how long, is of significant importance, The Hindustan Times quoted Dr Lalit Kant, former head, epidemiology and communicable disease division, ICMR.

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