TOP LINE

Many patients who have recovered from Covid-19 can lose their immunity to the disease within months, According to research scientists at King’s College London, which, if true, will have broad implications for vaccine development and could put a ‘nail in the coffin’ in the idea that herd immunity to the coronavirus is achievable .

HIGHLIGHTS

Researchers from King’s College on several occasions tested 96 patients between March and June, all of which were confirmed to have had Covid-19 via a PCR test or a positive antibody test.

According to research, who has not yet peer reviewed, the level of antibodies capable of fighting the coronavirus peaked about three weeks after the onset of symptoms but declined rapidly.

About 60% of patients tested produced “strong” antibodies while battling the coronavirus, but just 16.7% had the same detectable potency level only 65 days later.

The magnitude of the antibody response depended on the severity of the disease, with both higher and longer lasting antibody levels in more severe cases.

In some milder cases, the antibodies became undetectable after about 50 days, “emphasizing the transient nature of [antibody] response to SARS-CoV-2 in some individuals. “

Key context:

It is important to note that this is a longitudinal study that has not been peer reviewed. If supported by further research, the ramifications for the sustainability of vaccine protection would be substantial. More importantly, it would mean that herd immunity to the coronavirus is likely unachievable. Many scientists have already predicted that individuals could be susceptible to being infected with Covid-19 multiple times because of short-term immunity and reinfection has been observed in other human coronaviruses. Earlier this month, a study by prominent Spanish epidemiologists published by the medical journal The Lancet found that fair 14% of individuals who had tested positive for anti-coronavirus antibodies in a first round of tests were tested positive for the antibodies in subsequent tests carried out weeks later. King’s College study “puts another nail in the coffin of dangerous concept of collective immunity,” professor said Jonathan heeeney, virologist at the University of Cambridge.

Large number :

12,913,000: The coronavirus infected more than 12,913,000 people worldwide on Monday morning, according to New York Times, resulting in at least 569,100 deaths.

Critical citation:

“The good news is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus appears to make fewer errors when reproducing than influenza viruses. This may allow us to maintain our immunity for longer. Even this may be enough to make the disease less serious on a second exposure, ”explains Dr Mark Kortepeter.

Tangent:

According to MIT Technology Review“Antibodies are not the only way people fight Covid-19. T cells, which seek out and destroy cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, may also provide some protection. “He adds that” we have not yet generated enough data from patients to be able to draw conclusions about immunity with a high degree of certainty. There have been anecdotal reports of people catching Covid-19 for the second time, but none have been confirmed. “

Further reading:

Covid-19 immunity could disappear within months, new study finds (MIT)

Can you catch Covid-19 twice? Infectious Disease Doctor Explores Possibility (Forbes)

Comprehensive coverage and live updates on the coronavirus


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