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Men produce more Covid antibodies than women says study

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On average, men produce more Covid-19 antibodies than women, say Portuguese researchers, adding that, 90 per cent of the patients have detectable antibodies up to seven months post contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The results, published in the European Journal of Immunology, also show that age is not a confounding factor in levels of antibodies produced, but disease severity is.

“Our immune system recognizes the virus SARS-CoV-2 as harmful and produces antibodies in response to it, which helps to fight the virus,” said study author Marc Veldhoen from Medicina Molecular Joao Lobo Antunes in Portugal.

For the findings, the research team set up an in-house sensitive specific and versatile Covid-19 serology test.

They started to monitor the antibody levels of over 300 Covid-19 hospital patients and healthcare workers, and over 200 post-Covid-19 volunteers.

The results of this six months cross-sectional study show a classic pattern with a rapid increase of antibody levels within the first three weeks after Covid-19 symptoms and, as expected, a reduction to intermediate levels thereafter.

“In this early response phase, on average men produce more antibodies than women, but levels equilibrate during the resolution phase and are similar between the sexes in the months after SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Veldhoen said.

In the acute phase of the immune response, the team observed higher antibody levels in patients with more severe disease.

Also, the results show that age is not a confounding factor for the production of antibodies, as no significant differences were observed between age groups.

Globally, 90 per cent of participants have detectable antibodies up to seven months post contracting Covid-19.

Next, the research team evaluated the function of these antibodies, i.e. their neutralizing activity against the virus SARS-CoV-2.

Also, the research team analysed the neutralizing capacity of the antibodies produced by the patients and volunteers.

“Our work provides detailed information for the assays used, facilitating further and longitudinal analysis of protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2,” Veldhoen said.

Importantly, it highlights a continued level of circulating neutralising antibodies in most people with confirmed SARS-CoV-2.

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UK approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

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Britain on Wednesday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on independent advice of its medicines regulator.
The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.
“The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use,” a UK Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said in a statement.
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Experts at the MHRA have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness after months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data.
Care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable will receive the vaccine on priority basis.
“The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) will shortly publish its final advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine,” the spokesperson said.

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