Young Patients of COVID-19 Have Low Levels of Neutralizing Antibodies

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New research shows that about 30% of patients have low levels of antibodies against novel coronavirus (SARS-COV-2).


  • A team of scientists researched COVID-19 patients who were discharged from the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre on February 26.
  • Analysis of blood samples revealed that about 30% of patients have low levels of antibodies.
  • On average, ten patients had low levels of neutralizing antibodies that could not be detected, while two patients showed very high levels.
  • The study also showed that the plasma of elderly and middle-aged patients have significantly high levels of neutralizing antibodies and spike-binding antibodies.
  • The median age of the patients was 50 years, hospital stay was 16 days and the disease duration was 21 days.

Symptoms and Duration of the Disease

  • The disease duration of young patients with low neutralizing antibodies was not longer than old patients with higher amounts of antibodies.
  • So both young and old patients took same time to recover.
  • Researchers say that the study is preliminary and they were not able to detect the viral DNA in the blood samples. So it is not known that the young patients with lower viral load resulted in a lower amount of neutralizing antibodies.
  • The team was able to detect coronavirus specific neutralizing antibodies 10- 15 days after the onset of the disease. Then it remained stable.
  • The patients included in the study had mild symptoms and patients in the intensive care unit were excluded.
  • Younger patients with low levels of neutralizing antibodies have recovered from the disease by convalescent plasma therapy.

Immune Response

  • The study suggests that the higher levels of neutralizing antibodies in aged patients are due to the ‘strong immune response’. But it is not known whether the high neutralizing antibodies in older people will protect them from critical conditions.


The researchers say that the antibodies generated in response to novel coronavirus could bind with 2003 SARS strains. So developing a vaccine that is effective for both novel coronavirus and the 2003 SARS virus is possible.

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