If I had COVID-19, do I have antibodies?

Co-Author: Jenna Resnik

Most people who have COVID-19 will develop antibodies 1-3 weeks after they get better. The amount of antibodies generally tracks with how sick the person was. People who were sicker develop higher antibody levels. However, not all people with COVID-19 develop antibodies. In fact, doctors think that between 5 and 25% of people who test positive for COVID do not develop antibodies.

One study investigated characteristics of patients who did not develop antibodies, and found that they were on average, 10 years younger and had lower viral loads than people who did develop antibodies. In that study, antibody response was not always directly related to symptom severity. 

So getting COVID-19 does not guarantee you’ll develop antibodies. Nor does it always correlate with how strong and long lasting that antibody response might be. The CDC  recommends that people who have had COVID-19 get vaccinated to keep themselves and their family safe.

Last updated: October 8, 2021 01:02 pm ET

Review: BK, GHH