A study conducted by British healthcare workers has found that people who have contracted the disease are likely to develop immunity to it for at least five months. However, evidence suggests that people with antibodies still possess the ability to carry and spread the disease.
Reinfections are Rare but Possible
The study carried out by scientists at Public Health England revealed that reinfections are rare among people who have Covid-19 antibodies from a previous infection. The study found only 44 cases among 6,614 previously infected people.
Nevertheless, the experts were keen to stress that judging by the revelations from the study, people who were infected with the disease in the first wave of the pandemic may now be at risk of catching it again.
They also cautioned that people with natural immunity, gained by having had the virus, may still retain the ability to carry the virus in their nose and throat and could transmit it unwittingly.
Everyone Is a Potential Infection Threat
The findings of the study (known as SIREN study) should be taken note of, according to experts not directly involved in the research.
Eleanor Riley, a professor of immunology and infectious disease at Edinburgh University, notes that “the data only serve to reinforce the message that, for the time being, everyone is a potential source of Infection for others and should behave accordingly.”
Noting that the study “has major implications for how we can get out of the current crisis,” Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at Reading University, said, “This means that the vast majority of the population will either need to have natural immunity or have been immunized for us to fully lift restrictions on our lives, unless we are prepared to see many more people being infected and dying from COVID-19.”