On Monday night, Cuomo offered the update, but said he remained confused about how much having antibodies protects him from further illness.
“I thought I was going to have great news. I tested negative — don’t have the virus,” Cuomo said on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”
“Good for me. I also tested to show that I have both antibodies. What does that mean?”
“Do I really have great news?” he questioned. “What does it mean that I have the antibodies? Am I really immune? Do they know? There’s a lot of confusion about what it does and doesn’t mean.”
Cuomo talked to Dr. Sanjay Gupta for his professional take on whether he and others who have antibodies are protected against the illness.
“Presumably, you’re going to have some protection against this. I think that’s what most virologists will say [and] that’s what your friend, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says as well,” Dr. Gupta said. “The thing is we need to prove it out and that takes some time, to actually show that these antibodies are going to protect you.”
Dr. Gupta continued that in order to gain a clearer idea of how Cuomo’s antibodies might protect him from COVID-19, professionals would need to combine those antibodies with the virus in a test tube. They would then assess whether the antibodies neutralized the virus.
“Presumably, there should be some neutralizing activity, but it may be different person-to-person,” Dr. Gupta explained. “There’s been some evidence recently, for example, [of] people who have had more significant illness [who] may have antibodies with more neutralizing activity. And, people who’ve had milder illness [who] may have antibodies with less neutralizing activity. But again, we have to prove this out.”
Dr. Gupta pointed out that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” meaning that just because it may not be proven yet, it doesn’t mean that anyone with antibodies doesn’t hold neutralizing activity against the virus.
The doctor also noted that it was too early to know how strong or how lasting the potential protection of antibodies could be.
Further complicating the matter, Dr. Gupta said regardless of whether someone has short-term or long-term antibodies, there could potentially be some that are “really high achievers in terms of neutralizing the virus,” and some that “aren’t doing much of anything.” He raised the idea of cloning the antibodies that are most effective.
Cuomo concluded by promising to give blood, if medical professionals want his donation, in order to help others who contract the virus.
“I’m being told they do [want it,]” Cuomo said. “I have never given blood in my life and we both know why — it’s because I’m a wuss. But I’m going to do it. If they want the blood, I’m going to give it to them because that is the best thing I’ve heard of so far in terms of what I can do to help as someone who is sick.”