Monday, 25 January, 2021

Immunity Is Likely After COVID-but Not Guaranteed

A temporary field hospital then under construction in Wuhan China in February 2020 A temporary field hospital then under construction in Wuhan China in February 2020
Gustavo Carr | 14 January, 2021, 22:49

Preliminary findings by 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. The protection then appears to last for five months.

But they warned that although antibodies may confer some protection from becoming ill with COVID-19, early evidence from the next stage of the study suggests that some of these individuals carry high levels of virus and could continue to transmit it to others.

"We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts", Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE and co-leader of the study, said according to Reuters.

In December, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimated that 4.4 million people had been infected in Britain since the start of the pandemic, while the MRC Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge University believes it could be as many as 8.9 million in England alone. "It allows people to feel that prior infection will protect them from future infections, but at the same time it is not complete protection, and therefore they still need to be careful when they are out and about."PHE recruited healthcare workers from hospitals across the United Kingdom and divided them into two groups: those who had coronavirus before and those who had not".

People who receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to gain 89% immunity after three weeks with that level of protection rising to 94% once they receive the second dose.

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Most of all, what long haulers say is that their symptoms-no matter how small or big can impair daily functioning and present problems in resuming normal life.

Researchers report that 76% of these patients had at least one symptom six months after symptoms began. But they could also develop neurological symptoms like brain fog, short-term memory loss and insomnia, researchers have found.

The analysis took place prior to the widespread dissemination of the new highly-transmissible variant VOC202012/01 and the PHE said that further work was underway in the laboratory to understand whether and to what extent antibodies also provide protection from this variant.

Tang said hopefully these studies would "reduce the anxiety of many healthcare worker colleagues who have concerns about getting COVID-19 twice".

Two groups of people, one with no evidence of previous infection and the other with evidence of past infection, were followed for up to six months.