Study: 75% of Texans have COVID-19 antibodies

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – One of the world’s largest COVID-19 antibody studies, which was produced by Texas CARES and public health experts at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Texas Department of State Health Services is estimating that over 75% of Texans have COVID-19 antibodies.

The study had almost 90,000 participants.

John Ortiz of Clear Lake said he had COVID twice last year. He joined the UT Health study because he said he was a little concerned the reinfection was a sign he wasn’t developing antibodies.

“I wanted to see what the natural level of antibodies I was producing was,” Ortiz explained.

It turns out, he does in fact have antibodies from natural infection and from getting vaccinated.

The study was an eye-opener on natural antibodies, vaccines and boosters.

“It’s not the case that people that have had COVID don’t need to get vaccinated, they don’t enjoy that same degree of immunity, number one. And it will not last as long, number two,” said Eric Boerwinkle, dean of the School of Public Health at UTHealth Houston.

Among the key findings, the survey team determined that on average, COVID-19 antibody levels peak about 120 days after and may return to undetectable levels as early as 275 days after infection.

“So because they’re starting to come down, for those of us who may have been vaccinated in January, February, March, we need to start considering to have boosters,” Boerwinkle said.

For Ortiz, he now feels twice as protected against the virus.

While the study could help serve as more guidance for boosters, Boerwinkle said the number of people who need their first vaccine is not where it needs to be to achieve herd immunity. So, while boosters are important, he said so is getting the initial vaccine.

A lot of health experts are getting a little nervous as we head towards the holidays since that could potentially bring the fifth wave of infections if we don’t take health precautions now.