June 26, 2021

Vaccination Update: COVID-19 and your antibodies to the virus.

 In my lab we have been doing side research since mid-summer of 2020 testing persons who recovered from COVID19 for antibodies in their blood. Later, in 2021 we added to the research study process to also test persons after they have been vaccinated with at least one dose of an FDA-approved vaccine. What have we learned in our little local community study here in Oakland County Michigan?

First, we learned that there was some variation in people who have recovered from COVID19. Some persons might have detectable antibodies still after a few months from recovery while other persons can have very little detectable antibody to the COVID19 spike protein just a few weeks after illness.

We have also learned that you can be mostly fully recovered after several weeks if you were in your 20s, but we also learned of young persons who still have no sense of smell 6 months after recovery from COVID19 illness. Also, while older persons tend to get more hospitalization, we also met active joggers in their 30s who were reduced to just walking around their neighborhood to rebuild up their ability to hopefully jog again one day.

We have also been testing persons, including ourselves, after one or two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and some persons after the one-shot J&J vaccine. We have seen that some people get a strong production serum antibodies within a week after just one shot of the RNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer), while some persons have a lower a much lower amount after dose one. After two doses, persons seem to have a good easily detectable IgG antibody to the COVID19 spike protein. Some even have the early appearing IgM class of antibody as well as the longer-lasting IgG class of antibodies. J&J vaccinations give an easy to detect antibody level but never as strong as those we see with the RNA vaccines. 

So the take-home information is this:

  1. You can get antibodies from getting COVID19 but of course that only happens if you live. 
  2. Persons recovered from the virus often have symptoms of weakness and loss of smell that persist for weeks or months. While they may now have antibodies to COVID19, they are also not in full good health.
  3. All the FDA-approved vaccines give a person antibodies to the COVID19 spike protein that we can detect, which indicates the vaccination has done it job. 
  4. Persons who get vaccinated might get a mild fever for a day or two after the first or second dose of their vaccine, but they do not get ill from COVID19 and they do not suffer damage to their organs like persons who get COVID19. 
  5. Getting vaccinated is the best solution to minimizing risk to the health of you and your loved ones as this worldwide pandemic continues in 2021. 
We ourselves (Ken Mitton, Ph.D., Nahrain Putris, M.D., Meron Terakegn, M.D., Kaylee Gwyn, B.Sc.) who have been doing this study at Oakland University (Rochester Michigan) have all been vaccinated with different vaccines and we have seen our own COVID19 antibodies in our own blood tests and we are happy to be protected. Also we are happy that our vaccination status keeps us from being a source of COVID19 transmission to others who are not yet vaccinated. 


Ken Mitton

No comments: