A new study has found that COVID-19 re-infection is unlikely to occur for at least six months.
This news is according to a British study by Oxford University, which studied frontline healthcare workers.
Short-term immunity gives hope
David Eyre, who is a professor at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population and Health, and co-led the study, said that the news offered comfort at least in the short-term.
“This is excellent news because we can be confident that, at least in the short term, most people who get COVID-19 won’t get it again,” he said of the finding.
Study takes 30 weeks
The study was part of a massive staff testing programme. It took 30 weeks, between April and November 2020. However, the findings have not yet been peer-reviewed. The University did publish it on the MedRxiv website, though.
The study had 11,052 staff without antibodies, while another 1,246 who had antibodies. 89 of the 11,052 developed a new COVID-19 infection with symptoms. This is while none of the 1,246 who had antibodies developed an infection with symptoms.
Re-infection possible, but rare
At the start of the pandemic, hope was high that people would develop long-term immunity against COVID-19. However, when cases of re-infection emerged, it threw out of the window those early speculations. The fear, then, was that there was no immunity against COVID-19 after recovery.
However, the study by Oxford shows that while re-infection would still occur, they would then be rare, rather than frequent had earlier feared. Indeed, the cases of re-infection have been isolated across the world. This development offers some hope after fears mounted that those who had recovered would swiftly fall ill again.
Recoveries across the world have crossed 36 million, with infections soaring at an alarming rate. This study adds to the vaccine development as among the raft of good news marking then end of 2020.
Another one is the development of a mask that can kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus upon contact. The mask has two layers with cotton on both sides.