A new study out of the United Kingdom study suggests that people who have recovered from COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, could lose immunity in months.
People may lose their immunity to the virus within months, and the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds, according to Dr. Katie Doores, lead author on the study at King’s College London.
“People are producing a reasonable antibody response to the virus, but it’s waning over a short period of time and depending on how high your peak is, that determines how long the antibodies are staying around,” Doores said.
More than 90 patients and healthcare workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust were tested and researchers found levels of antibodies that can destroy the virus peaked about three weeks after the onset of symptoms then swiftly declined.
As some have pushed for “herd immunity” in communities around the world, this not only complicates that matter but also has implications for the development of a vaccine.
“Infection tends to give you the best-case scenario for an antibody response, so if your infection is giving you antibody levels that wane in two to three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same thing,” Doores said. “People may need boosting and one shot might not be sufficient.”
The study comes as the chief of the World Health Organization said that the rush to return to “normal” will not happen anytime soon.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that if public health guidelines are not followed like social distance, mask wearing, washing your hands and not touching your face, the crisis will get "worse and worse and worse."
"I want to be straight with you: there will be no return to the 'old normal' for the foreseeable future," Tedros said Sunday during a virtual UN news conference. "Let me blunt: too many countries are headed in the wrong direction. The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this."
To date, about 12.9 million people in the world have had coronavirus and over 571,000 have died from it.