Dr. Howard Grossman began his career in the 1980s during the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in a New York City hospital with nearly 5% of the world's known cases. And now, decades later, he's watching the COVID-19 crisis unfold here at his South Florida practice.
Dr. Grossman tested positive for the virus back in early March and then two weeks later tested positive for the antibodies. He discovered through constant testing that the antibodies lasted for only three months. Dr. Grossman said that there could be several complicated reasons for antibodies disappearing, including levels that are too low to measure, but that are still high enough to attack the virus, should it try to return for a second time.
"I do think that people who have had the virus have a certain level of immunity, because if you look, at most there have been a few reported cases of recurrence of infection, none of which have documented actual infectious virus," Dr. Grossman explained.
His biggest frustration is with all of the talk of a vaccine.
"Vaccines take time to develop and I think that I've been rather disappointed at this constant talk of a vaccine coming very quickly, because I think it gives people false hope that this is going to be a short term problem," Dr. Grossman says.
"First of all, you have to recruit 39,000 people for the trial, then it has to run, and what kind of results are you gonna have in three months? The results you'll have in three months will be that people develop antibodies. Okay, that's great, but how long will those antibodies last? Are they going to be protective? Are there going to be side effects six months or a year down the line? None of those questions are gonna be answered in three months, so are you gonna turn that vaccine into something you give to millions and millions and millions of people?"
Dr. Grossman added that in the short term, drug companies will be making advancements in treatment, to help people get better and survive after they've been infected.