British study shows evidence of waning immunity to Covid-19

27 Octobre, 2020, 16:15 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Coronavirus – Wed Jun 10 2020

"So I think we are a long, long way from any idea that the population will be protected by other people".

The remarkable milestone of no new cases comes just months after Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews declared a "state of disaster" to stem an outbreak that saw as many as 725 people in the state test positive for the virus in a single day.

"It remains unclear what level of immunity antibodies provide, or for how long this immunity lasts", said Paul Elliott, of Imperial's School of Public Health.

Furthermore, a major study by the World Health Organization (WHO) - now available as a preprint - found that remdesivir, the most promising treatment for COVID-19, appears to make no significant difference to the mortality rate.

Antibodies against the novel coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer, a study found on Tuesday, suggesting protection after infection may not be long lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community.

The study was published Monday by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, a market research firm. Indirect protection, on the other hand, is much more hard to measure.

Their study found that antibody prevalence fell by a quarter, from 6% of the population around the end of June to just 4.4% in September.

The results showed the number of people with antibodies fell by 26.5 percent over the approximately three-month period.

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"We can see the antibodies and we can see them declining and we know that antibodies on their own are quite protective", Wendy Barclay, head of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London told reporters.

She added: "Seasonal coronaviruses that circulate every winter and cause common colds can reinfect people, after six to 12 months - and we suspect that the way that the body reacts to infection with this new coronavirus is rather similar to that".

The downward trend was observed in all areas and across all age demographics, except for healthcare workers, which probably indicates higher initial exposure to the virus, or repeated exposure, among this group.

The best-case scenario for an effective vaccine would be one that prevents infection entirely, thereby reducing both direct and indirect transmission.

"So even if the rapid antibody test is no longer positive, the person may still be protected from re-infection". In other words, antibody response, which varies by age and severity of infection, wanes quickly over time regardless of outward symptoms, according to the research. Also as with a cold, people with robust immune systems, typically younger people, typically don't see as quick a drop in antibodies as with people with older immune systems. They believe that future data will show that these antibodies will last much longer than that.

"It's also important for everyone to know what it means for how they - this study will help to fight the virus of us, but tested positive for antibodies does not mean that you are immune to Covid-19", "whether as a result of testing immunity, must continue to follow the guidelines of the government, including distant social isolation of the self test and if you have and remember the hands, face and space".

"We rely on this type of important research to inform us about our further response to the disease so that we can continue to take the right actions at the right time".

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