09 Jun

New study reveals over 70% of dentists who contracted Covid-19 had antibodies 6 months later

New research suggests that over 70% of dental professionals who contracted Covid-19 had antibodies six months later. 

A study conducted by a team based at the University of Birmingham showed that around 16% of dentists contracted Covid-19 during the first wave of the outbreak in 2020. Of those who had the virus, more than 70% still had antibodies six months after infection. Researchers found that individuals with antibodies had a 75% lower risk of reinfection. 

Research teams analysed samples collected in June and September of 2020 and then tested dentists again in January 2021, six months after the study started. 

The study suggests that dental professionals were much more likely to be exposed to the virus than the general public during the first wave. Over 16% of dentists, hygienists and dental nurses developed Covid-19 antibodies compared to 6% of the general population. The infection rate among receptionists and non-clinical support staff who have limited contact with patients was similar to that of the average adult. 

The research also indicated that ethnicity was a significant risk factor for infection. Sample analysis revealed that 35% of black participants had antibodies compared to 18.8% of Asian dental professionals and 14.3% of white participants. 

In addition to gathering information about infection rates, the team also discovered that those who had antibodies developed a rapid response to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Almost 98% of those who had not previously been infected developed an antibody response within 12 days of the first vaccine but individuals who had antibodies already reacted faster and their immune response was stronger after a single dose. 

The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of Dental Research. Samples were collected from more than 1,500 dental professionals based in the Midlands.