Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2: Let’s stick to known knowns

Nicole Baumgarth, Janko Nikolich-Žugich, F. Eun Hyung Lee, Deepta Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The scale of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has thrust immunology into the public spotlight in unprecedented ways. In this article, which is part opinion piece and part review, we argue that the normal cadence by which we discuss science with our colleagues failed to properly convey likelihoods of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 to the public and the media. As a result, biologically implausible outcomes were given equal weight as the principles set by decades of viral immunology. Unsurprisingly, questionable results and alarmist news media articles have filled the void. We suggest an emphasis on setting expectations based on prior findings while avoiding the overused approach of assuming nothing. After reviewing Ab-mediated immunity after coronavirus and other acute viral infections, we posit that, with few exceptions, the development of protective humoral immunity of more than a year is the norm. Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is likely to follow the same pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2342-2350
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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