LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Antibodies from a mild case of COVID-19 appear to fall dramatically in the first three months after infection, and could disappear within about a year, according to a small study by UCLA researchers.

Medical staff from myCovidMD provide free COVID-19 virus antibody testing in observance of Juneteenth at the Faith Central Bible Church, in the predominately African American city of Inglewood, California on June 19, 2020. (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

The study, published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, tested 20 women and 14 men between 21 and 68 years old who recovered from mild cases of COVID-19. Each participant was tested at an average of 36 and 82 days after they initially showed symptoms.

The study found that antibodies in these study participants dropped sharply after the first three months, and decreased by roughly half every 36 days. At that rate, antibodies would disappear within about a year.

The UCLA study was a more detailed look into previous reports that suggested antibodies against the novel coronavirus were short-lived, and the first to estimate the rate at which antibodies disappear.

The study’s authors said the role of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 is not known, but the findings should prompt caution regarding antibody-based “immunity passports,” the goal of herd immunity, and vaccine durability.

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