Covid-19 antibodies were found to be present in Irish health care workers up to six months after they first contracted the virus, a new study has shown.
A new trial conducted at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin collected samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic healthcare workers between March to September of last year.
In total, 600 samples from 250 participants were analysed as part of the study.
The study found that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 98% of participants 50 days after they received a positive test result.
After 100 days, virtually the same level of Covid antibodies remained present.
After six months, (160 days after the first infection) antibodies were still present in 91% of participants.
The seropositivity rate — which shows how many participants had detectable antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in their samples — was shown to be 98% in the symptomatic group. The rate of asymptomatic seropositivity was 8%.
Researchers say the duration and longevity of these antibodies while being a positive sign, does not necessarily infer immunity.
They say further research on the subject will be required.
Commenting on the results Professor Fergal Malone, Master of the Rotunda Hospital, said the study presented “important data on healthcare worker infection” during the ongoing pandemic.
“The study includes information on infection clinical symptoms and the importance of robust serological screening methods," he said.
"We are proud to work with Trinity Biotech in order to bring a reliable, accurate, and sensitive serological test for SARS-CoV-2 to market at this challenging time which will have a meaningful impact on the long-term management of the Covid-19 pandemic," Prof Malone added.