My family has been tracking our Covid-19 antibody levels since February. We’ve been doing this mainly because of false information circling around both the news and public policy.
Back in February, the common thought was that you can lose your antibodies to Covid-19—and therefore your natural immunity—after 90 days. This thought infiltrated policy everywhere from schools to the State Department’s international travel policy. In each policy, people with natural immunity 90 days after infection but no vaccination were treated differently than people with a vaccination.
What our little experiment has shown, however, isn’t really what I intended. My intention was to show that we still had antibodies long after 90 days had past from having Covid. This did not occur like I’d envisioned, because we kept getting exposed.
We’ve had Covid-19 in November 2021, January, 2022, May 2022 (my oldest), June 2022 (me and my youngest), and August 2022 (my oldest). The stretch of time from February 2022, when we were first tested, to May 2022 was a bit over 90 days. During this time, my youngest son and I still had our antibodies, though they were slowly dropping.
But the real value in measuring our antibodies every month has been seeing how the memory cells in our natural immunity work. Memory B cells are a type of B lymphocyte that memorize characteristics of an antigen (e.g. a virus). They remember the same pathogen for a faster, more robust antibody production in future infections.
In our case, we likely had the different variants that were predominant over time. In November 2021, it was likely the Delta variant. In January, it was likely the Omicron variant. Next it was likely the Omicron BA.2. My oldest son’s latest infection was likely the Omicron BA.5 variant, as seen in these monthly levels below.
The variation in the different Covid-19 viruses is centered around how the spike protein of the virus binds to the ACE-2 receptor of the human cells. Likewise, the antibody blocks this spike protein binding. Each variation binds slightly differently to the ACE-2 receptor on the cell, in order to bypass existing antibodies.
What resulted with my family is that the first time we had Covid-19, I was very sick for six days and my boys rebounded in about a day. The second time, I was sick for a couple days and the boys were sick for about a day. The third time we had Covid-19, we had sniffles, but didn’t realize it was Covid-19 until we got our antibodies test. We could, however, look back and realize that the sniffles were likely the virus.
With my oldest son’s latest infection, there were no symptoms at all. And this is how natural immunity works. The memory B-cells combined with the existing antibodies mounted a rapid, highly effective response—so much so that he didn’t even realize he was sick. His antibody levels went up 6.6 times or 660%.
Without being exposed to Covid-19, my youngest son’s antibody levels dropped 32% and my antibody levels dropped 26%. Below are our August levels. Stay tuned for September’s!