If convalescent plasma is ultimately found to have a clear benefit, it must be collected in a certain time window after recovery, reported the study published in the journal ‘mBio’.
“We don’t want to transfuse the virus, just the antibodies,” said study author Andres Finzi from the University of Montreal in Canada.
“At the same time, our work shows that the ability of the plasma to neutralize virus particles decreases in these first few weeks,” Finzi added.
The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein plays a critical role in the detection and invasion of the virus by host cells.
Antibodies produced by the body’s immune system bind to part of this protein and block the ability of this “key” to contact the host’s cellular “barrier,” said Finzi, and prevent the virus particle from infecting a cell host.
Previous studies suggest that antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein peak two or three weeks after symptoms appear.
Results from an earlier cross-sectional study by the Finzi group of more than 100 patients indicated that the plasma’s ability to neutralize the virus decreased significantly between three and six weeks after symptoms appeared.
In the new longitudinal study, the research team analyzed blood samples taken every month from 31 people who had recovered from Covid-19.
They measured the immunoglobulin levels that act against the coronavirus S protein and tested the antibodies’ ability to neutralize the virus.
The researchers observed differences in the concentration of individual patients, but identified a consistent overall signal: levels of immunoglobulins G, A, and M, which target the binding site, decreased between six and 10 weeks after symptoms began.
Over the same period, the antibodies’ ability to neutralize the virus similarly decreased, the study said.
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