U.S.

What antibody level protects against COVID?

To prove their COVID-19 vaccines worked, companies had to enroll more than 100,000 participants in months-long clinical trials. Next time, Peter Gilbert wants such tests to require only a few hundred people and eight weeks’ time.

To get there, Gilbert and others have to figure out how much protection people need to avoid hospitalization and death from COVID-19, or even to prevent getting infected at all.

But 15 months after COVID-19 shut down most of the world, it’s still not clear what level of immune protection is enough.

“I haven’t seen people tossing around a number and I’m a little surprised by that. I would have thought we were further along by now,” said John Grabenstein, editor for the Immunization Action Coalition and former senior scientist and director for the U.S. Department of Defense military immunization program.

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