COVID-19 infection may provide at least months of immunity: Study

LONDON: A study has found that people who had contracted coronavirus are likely to have immunity to it for at least five months, however, those with antibodies may still be able to carry and spread the virus.

A study from the UK  showed that reinfections in people who have COVID-19 antibodies from a past infection are rare with only 44 cases found among 6,614 previously infected people in the study. However, experts cautioned that the findings mean people who contracted the disease in the first wave of the pandemic in the early months of 2020 may now be vulnerable to catching it again.

They also warned that people with ‘natural immunity’ acquired through having had the infection may still be able to carry the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in their nose and throat, and could unwittingly pass it on.

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A statement on the study said its findings did not address antibody or other immune responses to vaccines now being rolled out against COVID-19, or on how effective vaccines would be. Vaccine responses will be considered later this year, it said.

The research, known as the SIREN study, involves tens of thousands of healthcare workers in Britain who have been tested regularly since June for new COVID-19 infections as well as for the presence of antibodies.