April 30, 2020 / By John Lauerman
Most people who’ve had the coronavirus probably develop markers of the infection, according to Anthony Fauci, the scientist who’s leading the U.S. response to the pandemic.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it would be “extremely unusual” if patients did not develop antibodies, which often bestow immunity on people who’ve been infected with a virus. Other experts have cast doubt on whether this happens in everyone with the new coronavirus, fueling concerns about the insidious nature of the illness.
“I’d be careful about saying people who get infected don’t have any antibodies,” Fauci said in an interview. “It would be almost unprecedented.”
The dependable appearance of antibodies following Covid-19 infections would be highly reassuring as governments move to restart economies from lockdowns. Tests for them can show who’s been infected by the pathogen and how far it’s spread — and, potentially, how many people have developed immunity that could allow them to work in virus-exposed jobs with less risk of illness.