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according to a new study by British researchers that found people recovering from COVID-19 tend to lose their immunity within several months.

Recovered COVID-19 Patients Could Lose Immunity within Months, UK Study Finds

LONDON – Assumptions of crowds immunity to the coronavirus as more people become infected may be wrong, and patients who have had a virus attack may face reinfection, according to a new study by British researchers that found people recovering from COVID-19 tend to lose their immunity within several months.
The Guardian reported Sunday that a team from King’s College London found that the number of antibodies in the blood of the recovered patients had dropped significantly after three months, meaning they could be vulnerable to reinfection.
The study examined 90 patients and healthcare workers at the Guy and St Thomas NHS Foundation and found that while 60 percent of the study participants had a “potent” antibody response when infected with the virus, the level of effectiveness was only maintained in 17% of people three months later.
According to the report, in some cases, antibody levels were no longer detectable.
For some viral diseases like measles, overcoming the disorder confers immunity for life.
But for RNA-based viruses like Sars-Cov-2, the scientific name for the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, it takes about three weeks to generate enough antibodies, and even then they can protect for a limited period.
That means people could get the virus year after year, like the common cold.
If confirmed by further research, it would mean that hopes of getting rid of the virus now largely depend on the development of an effective and safe vaccine, perhaps with boosters.
“People are producing a reasonable antibody response to the virus, but it’s decreasing in a short period, and depending on how high its peak is, that determines how long the antibodies remain,” Dr Katie Doores, lead author of the study told the Guardian.
“Infection tends to give you the best scenario for antibody response, so if your infection is giving you levels of an antibody that decrease in two to three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same,” Doores said. “People may need a booster, and a single shot may not be enough.”
Serology tests in the blood can show antibodies that indicate whether someone has had the virus in the past and may have some level of immunity.
Some governments are pushing antibody tests as a way to examine the herd’s potential immunity levels as they try to restart economies after the virus has blocked.
Professor Jonathan Heeney, a virologist at Cambridge University, said the study was another example of evidence that immunity to the coronavirus may not be permanent.
“Most importantly, it puts another nail in the coffin of the dangerous concept of collective immunity,” he told The Guardian.
“I cannot stress how important it is for the public to understand that getting infected with this virus is not a good thing. Some of the citizens, especially young people, have become somewhat arrogant about becoming infected, thinking they would contribute to herd immunity. Not only will they put themselves at risk, and others, by becoming infected and losing immunity, but they may even expose themselves to an increased risk of more serious lung disease if they become infected again in the coming years,” he said.
Professor Arne Akbar, an immunologist at University College London, told the newspaper that antibodies are not the only factor being examined, with some evidence that T cells produced by the body to fight colds can also protect people.
However, the World Health Organization also warned that there is still no evidence that people who tested positive were immunized against the infection again.
“There is certainly some evidence regarding T cells that if you have a previous coronavirus infection, you may be able to generate a faster response to COVID-19,” said WHO’s Michael Ryan at a press conference in May.
“But there is no empirical evidence that previous coronavirus infections protect you from infection with COVID-19. The jury is still very interested in that,” he added.
(Sahar News Monitoriing Desk)

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