COVID-19 infection gives some immunity for at least five months, according to UK study By Reuters

© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Buenos Aires

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) – People who have had COVID-19 are highly likely to have immunity for at least five months, but there is evidence that people with antibodies can still carry and spread the virus, according to a study from the Kingdom. United. of healthcare workers has found. Preliminary findings from scientists at Public Health England (PHE) 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. But experts cautioned that the findings mean that people who contracted the disease in the first wave of the pandemic in the first months of 2020 may now be vulnerable to contracting it again. They also warned that people with so-called “natural immunity,” acquired by having the infection, can still carry the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in their nose and throat, and could pass it on without knowing it. “We now know that the majority of those who have had the virus and developed antibodies are protected from re-infection, but this is not complete and we do not yet know how long the protection lasts,” said Susan Hopkins, PHE senior medical advisor and co-leader. of the study, whose findings were published Thursday. “This means that even if you think you have already had the disease and are protected, you can be sure that you are very unlikely to develop serious infections. But there is still a risk that you could get an infection and pass it on to other people. A statement about the study said its findings did not address the antibodies or other immune responses to the vaccines now being rolled out against COVID-19, or how effective the vaccines would be. Responses to vaccines will be considered later this year, he said. The research, known as the SIREN study, involves tens of thousands of healthcare workers in Britain who have been regularly screened since June for new COVID-19 infections, as well as for the presence of antibodies. Between June 18 and November 24, scientists detected 44 potential reinfections, two “probable” and 42 “possible”, of 6,614 participants who tested positive for antibodies. This represents an 83% protection rate against reinfection, they said. The researchers plan to continue to follow and evaluate the participants to see if this natural immunity could last longer than five months in some. But they cautioned that preliminary evidence from the next stage of the study already suggests that some people with immunity may still carry high levels of the virus and could pass it on to others. “It is therefore critical that everyone follow the rules and stay home, even if they have already had COVID-19,” they said in the statement about their results.

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