By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) – People who have been infected with COVID-19 are more likely to have at least five months of immunity. But there is evidence that people with the antibody may still be able to spread and spread the virus.
The preliminary findings by scientists from Public Health England (PHE) show that re-infection in people with COVID-19 antibodies from past infections is rare, with only 44 being found in those infected. 6,614 infection in the study
But experts warn the findings mean those infected in the first wave of the outbreak in early 2020 may now be at risk of being caught again.
It also warns that those who have the so-called. The “natural immunity”; acquired from infection may also infect the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus in the nose and throat and may be transmitted accidentally.
“We now know that most people who contract the virus and develop antibodies are protected from re-infection. But that’s not all, and we don’t yet know how long the prevention will last, ”said Susan Hopkins, PHE senior medical advisor and co-leader of the study, which published the findings Thursday.
“This means that even if you believe you already have this disease and are protected. But you can be sure you are unlikely to have a serious infection But there is always a risk that you could get the infection and pass it on to others. ”
The statement on the study said the findings do not identify antibodies or other immune responses to vaccines currently released against COVID-19 or any effective vaccine. The vaccine response will be considered later this year.
The so-called SIREN study involved tens of thousands of healthcare workers in the UK who have been testing regularly since June for new COVID-19 infection, including the presence of antibodies.
Between June 18 and November 24, the scientists detected 44 recurrent infections, with two “probable” and 42 “possible” out of 6,614 participants who tested positive for antibodies. This represents an 83% protection rate against reinfection, they said.
The researchers plan to continue monitoring and evaluating participants to see if this natural immunity may last more than five months in some people. But they caution that early evidence from the next stage of the study suggests that some people who are immune to high levels of the virus can also transmit the virus to others.
“It is therefore important that everyone remains at home and abide by the rules, even if they have been infected with COVID-19 before,” they said in a statement about their results.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Edited by Mark Heinrich)