PROSECO: antibodies in people who have already encountered the virus may not decrease over time

More than 30,000 Czechs participated in the unique PROSECO study, which investigates the dynamics of memory antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. As the project’s sponsor, immunologist from the Recetox Centre at Masaryk University, Professor Vojtěch Thon, said, it turns out that antibodies in people who have already encountered the virus may not decrease over time. Actually, the study shows that in some people, antibodies can even rise. 

“As far as the question of the dynamics of the antibodies produced over time is concerned, it depends on whether or not the person’s organism has repeatedly encountered the antigen-infection over time. This relates to the important fact that antibodies not only do not fall or remain at a stable level, but also rise, “Thon stated.

The result of the research surprised many of those who took part.”They were amazed because they did not feel any infection and had no idea that their immune defences had reacted so effectively that they did not register anything and were not sick again,” Thon said.

Even in the case of a normal drop in antibodies during a period without infection, the immune response is much faster and more effective when the infection is encountered again. So even a drop in a person’s serum antibodies does not mean a loss of immune protection, “Thon added. 

He stressed that from this national study, scientists already know for sure that we are in a very different situation in the country than at the beginning of the pandemic. The study has also provided crucial new information for the whole world. Among them is the underestimation of the official data on how many people have actually been infected with SARS-CoV-2, as determined by precise laboratory measurements. The study demonstrates that antibody testing and its correct interpretation is far more accurate than conducting PCR and antigen tests. 

While only 28% of volunteers had antibodies in October and November 2020, the figure increased to 43% in December and January 2021, and 51% in February and March 2021.”This means that by March 2021, a substantial part of the Czech population was no longer immunologically naïve to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Thon commented on the results in August. The study has been running continuously since October last year and is the largest study in Central and Eastern Europe. Three examinations for antibodies were carried out in volunteers over a period of eighteen months