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Media opportunity: Dalhousie University study reveals centenarians have robust response to SARS‑CoV‑2 infection despite age, frailty
A new study by researchers at Dalhousie University has shown that centenarians and people over 90 can generate a robust antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, providing important insights into the immune response of a group that has been so negatively affected by COVID-19 but not widely studied.
The team at Dalhousie conducted a serological study to investigate the development of immunity in centenarians following a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in a long-term care facility. They collected blood samples from 15 COVID-19 positive and negative individuals 30 and 60 days after COVID-19 testing.
The researchers measured the antibody responses in these individuals during their recovery and found that they were able to produce high amounts of antibodies that were directed specifically at the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins. The antibodies were also long-lived and able to block the virus from infecting cells. This positive response was found in all of the individuals, despite the fact that they rated high on the frailty chart and were of extreme older age, with six women having a median age of almost 99.
These results show that older individuals are able to produce effective antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen and suggest they will be protected from secondary exposures. Their findings, published in EClinical Medicine, also suggest that older individuals are able to respond positively to COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr. Sam Searle, an assistant professor in Dalhousie’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and co-author of the paper, is available to discuss this unique research and how further investigation should determine if there were key immune or clinical signatures associated with positive COVID-19 outcomes in these older individuals that may give clues to healthy aging.
Senior Research Reporter
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