Covid recoverers likely to have greater protection than the Oxford vaccine

17 Janvier, 2021, 20:54 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • People with some COVID-19 immunity may still transmit virus

A study from Public Health England (PHE) has found that although people who have had COVID-19 may have immunity against the virus for "at least five months", they could still be able to transmit it to others.

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. "None of the 44 potential reinfection cases were PCR tested during the first wave, but all tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies at the point of recruitment to the study".

"We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection", she said.

According to the SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation (SIREN) research led by Susan Hopkins, a professor and a senior medical advisor at PHE, over 80 percent of persons captured in the study were not reinfected.

"Doctors need better tools to evaluate the status of Covid-19 patients as early as possible because numerous treatments - such as monoclonal antibodies -are in short supply, and we know that some patients will get better without intensive treatments", said co-senior author Andrew E Gelman, Ph.D., the Immunology and Oncology in the Department of Surgery.

However, the researchers said that even if a previously infected person has immunity, they may still be able to carry the virus and infect others, CBS News reported. "Now more than ever it is vital we all stay at home to protect our health service and save lives".

The study will continue to follow participants for 12 months to explore how long any immunity may last, the effectiveness of vaccines and to what extent people with immunity are able to carry and transmit the virus.

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That would mean that many people who have recovered from coronavirus could be immune until the summer when far more vaccine doses are likely to be available.

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.

Researchers have developed a DNA test to quickly identify secondary infections in COVID-19 patients, who have double the risk of developing pneumonia while on ventilation than non-COVID-19 patients.

The PHE also warned that although those with antibodies have some protection from becoming ill with COVID-19 themselves, 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 the virus to others.

Prof Hopkins said she can be confident that five to six months after their first infection, the vast majority of people with a previous infection are protected from severe disease and are protected from symptomatic infection.

"Your natural infection is like your first dose of the vaccine", he said.

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