Say you have the flu and a normal immune system. Now you're all better but your antibody level is still elevated. How long does it take for those antibody levels to go back to a base value?

  • $\begingroup$ This is quite broad since there are many different classes and subclasses and each has a different half life which ranges from hours to weeks. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Jul 14, 2015 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't nearly all major classes of antibodies have about the same life expectancy? @canadianer $\endgroup$
    – SolarLunix
    Jul 14, 2015 at 4:54
  • $\begingroup$ No. Very generally, you can find numbers like 3 weeks for IgG, 1 week for IgM and IgA, 3 days for IgD and 2 days for IgE. Also, these isotypes differ vastly in serum concentration and are expressed at different times. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Jul 14, 2015 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer - your comment basically answers the question. So perhaps it is not so broad? Further, to discard issues with initial Ab concentrations the Q may be focused on half-life and perhaps the Q could go for IgG alone, or another Ab type typical of the Flu to narrow it down further? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jul 14, 2015 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD The question really is about more than antibody half lives and there are many factors that could contribute. Actually, I can imagine some study would have answered it by measuring antibody titre over time, so I have retracted my close vote. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Jul 14, 2015 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


I agree that this question may be broader than a simple half-life question in theory, however, I think that it is still basically a half-life question. For instance, does the presence of the virus (using the flu example) contribute to opsionization and clearance? Possibly, but this would be variable and difficult to generalize about.

The question has been asked in a number of ways (for endogenous / exogenous antibody). For simplicity, Mankarious et al examined transferred antibody in IVIG therapy and found, "For total IgG, the half-life found was 25.8 days; for IgG1 it was 29.7 days; for IgG2 it was 26.9 days; and for IgG3 it was 15.7 days." - an answer in line with that proposed by canadianer, above.


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