CAPE TOWN – It is still not at all clear how long Covid-19 antibodies last. This development comes after a research paper released on Tuesday, confirming it is possible to catch the potentially deadly disease more than once.
A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal revealed that Covid-19 patients may experience more severe symptoms the second time they are infected.
“We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe,”
“The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine,” said Mark Pandori, for the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and lead study author.
The paper noted four other cases of reinfection confirmed globally, with one patient each in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Ecuador. This new development of reinfection could have a profound impact on how the world battles through the pandemic, experts have warned.
In August, the World Health Organization (WHO) echoed that sentiment when discussing the idea of “immunity certificates,” or using a positive antibody test as reason to believe it’s safe enough to return to activities like work and travel because you’ve already had the infection.
“This rests on the as yet unproven assumption that infection provides long-term protection against re-infection. Antibody-mediated immunity is not yet sufficiently understood to offer any guarantees of protection against re-infection. We do not yet have enough data to confirm if antibodies protect, what antibody levels are required, or how long protection will last,”said the organization.
The researchers pointed out that reinfection of any kind remains rare, with only a handful of confirmed cases out of tens of millions of Covid-19 infections globally.
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