Covid-19 reinfection unlikely for at least 6 months, says study

Got infected with covid-19? You are unlikely to get hit again for at least 6 months if this new study on covid reinfection is to be believed.
covid-19 reinfection
You might be safe from covid-19 for upto 6 months if you've already been infected once. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Reuters Updated: 22 Nov 2020, 21:15 pm IST
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Ever since countries have started seeing a surge in coronavirus cases again, the question of covid-19 reinfection has surfaced again. Many studies are being tirelessly conducted all over the world to understand this virus better so that we can equip ourselves better.

In a recent British study of healthcare workers, the researchers found that people who’ve had covid-19 earlier are unlikely to contract it again for at least six months after their first infection.

The findings reassure that…

More than 51 million people have been infected with this virus worldwide and it is only increasing every single day. The findings of the study can reassure those 51 million people that they have low chances of getting reinfected again

“This is really good news because we can be confident that, at least in the short term, most people who get covid-19 won’t get it again,” said David Eyre, a professor at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, who co-led the study.

Earlier, it was said that immunity against covid might be short-lived

Isolated cases of re-infection with covid-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, had raised concerns that immunity might be short-lived and that recovered patients may swiftly fall sick again. But the results of this study carried out in a cohort of UK healthcare workers – who are among those at highest risk of contracting covid-19 – suggest cases of reinfection are likely to remain extremely rare.

“Being infected with covid-19 does offer protection against re-infection for most people for at least six months,” Eyre said. “We found no new symptomatic infections in any of the participants who had tested positive for antibodies.”

covid-19 re-infection
Yes people, covid-19 reinfection is a possibility. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
This is how the study was conducted

The study, part of a major staff testing programme, covered a 30-week period between April and November 2020. Its results have not peer-reviewed by other scientists but were published before review on the MedRxiv website.

During the study, 89 of 11,052 staff without antibodies developed a new infection with symptoms, while none of the 1,246 staff with antibodies developed a symptomatic infection.

Also, read: Chances of reinfection high if covid-19 antibodies start reducing within 5 months: ICMR

Staff with antibodies were also less likely to test positive for COVID-19 without symptoms, the researchers said, with 76 without antibodies testing positive, compared to only three with antibodies. Those three were all well and did not develop COVID-19 symptoms, they added.

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“We will continue to follow this cohort of staff carefully to see how long the protection lasts and whether the previous infection affects the severity of infection if people do get infected again,” Eyre concluded.

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