GENEVA, Switzerland (NBC) – A British study found that people who have had COVID-19 are unlikely to contract the disease again for at least six months. That piece of good news and more about global vaccine efforts came from the World Health Organization Friday.
Mike Ryan is the head of the WHO’s Emergencies Program. He explained, “This is potentially significant news. It extends the period for which we know there is likely protection and, hopefully, that period will extend further and further. But we know there may be limits to that. It also gives us hopes as well on the vaccine side that if we start to see similar immune responses to the vaccine we may hope for longer periods of protection.”
WHO Technical Lead for COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said, “And this is very good news, it is promising and confirming what other studies are also finding as well. And so, what they show is that the individual and what we do know is that people who are infected with the SARS-COV-2 virus will develop an antibody response within a few weeks, one to three weeks of infection. And now we’re seeing that that antibody response is lasting and it’s lasting for months. We still need to follow these individuals for a longer period of time so we can determine how long these antibodies last.”
Isolated cases of re-infection with COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus, had raised concerns that immunity might be short-lived and that recovered patients may swiftly fall sick again.
But the results of this study, carried out among a group of u-k healthcare workers who are among those at highest risk of contracting COVID-19, suggests cases of reinfection are likely to remain extremely rare.
The study covered a 30-week period between April and November 2020.
Its results have not been peer-reviewed by other scientists but were published before review on the medRxiv website.