People who have already contracted Covid-19 gain significant protection from reinfection for at least 5 months, according to a recent study by Public Health England (PHE).
The study also found evidence that people who have developed immunity to the virus can still spread it to others.
The study regularly tested almost 21,000 health workers for COVID-19 and COVID-19 antibodies in the United Kingdom National Health Service between June and November of 2020.
Professor Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE and the Siren study lead, said: "This study has given us the clearest picture to date of the nature of antibody protection against Covid-19 but it is critical people do not misunderstand these early findings".
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. She stressed that the findings mean even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections but there is still a risk that you could acquire an infection and transmit to others. "Now more than ever it is vital we all stay at home to protect our health service and save lives".
Hence the study claims that people who have recovered from the condition still needs to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain distance at least two meters from others.
The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, will consider vaccine responses later this year. They found that a person who's been infected is 83% less likely to catch the coronavirus again over five months, compared to a person who hadn't been infected, CBS News reported.
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If you've been infected in the last three months, the CDC says it's OK to delay vaccination if you want to let others go first while supplies are limited.
The study was conducted on tens of thousands of healthcare workers across the United Kingdom starting from June 2020 for the presence of Covid-19 infections or antibodies. However, of those who had tested positive for antibodies, 44 healthcare workers tested positive for antibodies had "potential reinfections", according to a press release about the study, months later.
Yes. Regardless of previous infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should plan on getting vaccinated when it's their turn.
But researchers warned that the protection was not total and that it was unclear how long any immunity lasts.
However, Prof Hopkins still urged caution. It will also look into the impact of the new variant and the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
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