Oxford Study: COVID-19 Reinfection Unlikely for at Least 6 Months

Henrietta Brewer
November 24, 2020

The analysis found that none with antibodies against the virus tested positive over the course of roughly seven months.

"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 Professor David Eyre of the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Population Health, one of the authors of the paper which is in pre-print stages.

Oxford coronavirus vaccine: How does it work and when will it be available in the UK?

Researchers tested 12,180 frontline health-care workers for coronavirus antibodies to see if they have been previously infected.

The study was carried out on staff from Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust between April and November.

There is also the potential that this therapy will prove efficacious in people infected with Covid-19. None of the 1,246 staff with antibodies developed a symptomatic infection.

"We will follow this group of staff closely to see how long the protection lasts and whether the previous infection affects the severity of the infection if people become infected again", Ayre said.

During the study, 89 of 11,052 staff without antibodies developed a new infection with symptoms.

Again. 6 without antibodies testing positive, compared to only three with antibodies. They added the three were all well and did not develop symptoms.

USA biotech firm Moderna announced this week its vaccine candidate was almost 95 per cent effective in a trial - a week after similar results were announced by pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Evidence has shown that human's immune system could maintain its protection mechanism against a second infection of the COVID-19 virus for as long as eight months, easing previous concern that people could lose the immunity in just a few months, Australian researchers said on Monday.

To date, studies have found that antibodies against the new coronavirus offer varying levels of immunity from infection.

The findings should offer some reassurance for the more than 51 million people worldwide who have been infected with the pandemic disease, researchers at the University of Oxford said.

However, there are hopes after the study indicated that reinfection is extremely rare.

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