So far, the new coronavirus pandemic has directly affected more than 6 million people worldwide. This, only taking into account the number of infected by Covid-19 . Thus, in addition to those contaminated, we also have families and people who have been indirectly affected. In addition, also sectors of the economy and entire nations. Thus, in an extreme scenario, the immunity acquired by the infected can be considered an asset. However, according to a recently published study, immunity against coronavirus could only last 6 months.
People who contracted the virus and survived the symptoms that often lead to death, receive an immunological passport , as it is being called in the scientific community. Therefore, these are people who could resume their activities without fear of a second infection. However, according to a study by the University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, this immunity would not last forever and would only last 6 months.
Covid-19 infected could contract a second infection
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been circulating among us for less than five months. Thus, because it is such a recent virus, researchers still do not know for sure how it works. For this reason, a group of scientists from the Netherlands carried out a study already carried out with 10 individuals over a period of 35 years, which goes from 1985 to 2020. But, which analyzed four viruses that preceded the new coronavirus. They are: HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1.
From the group of people used in the study, it was determined that after a certain period of time, infections can occur with the same virus. According to the researchers, there is an “alarmingly short duration of protective immunity to coronaviruses “.
In addition, the scientists observed “frequent reinfections 12 months after infection and a substantial reduction in antibody levels six months after infection”. “Still, they all seem to induce short-lived immunity, with rapid loss of antibodies . This may well be a general denominator for human coronaviruses.”
Even if the virus that causes Covid-19 behaves differently, we need to be prepared for possible “short-lived immunity, with rapid loss of antibodies. If SARS-CoV-2 behaves like a seasonal coronavirus in the future, a similar pattern can be expected “, says the study.
How does the immune passport work?
Anyway, we also need to remember that the study is in the preprint phase . That is, it has not yet been reviewed by experts. Although, going against the current evidence found, the study needs to be taken into account. “Since protective immunity can be lost six months after infection , the prospect of achieving functional herd immunity by natural infection seems very unlikely,” he said.
In a recent example, Britain’s Secretary of Health, Matt Hancock, announced that the government is working on a certification system to allow people who have recovered to resume their economic activities. In this way, tests could validate immunity to the virus for these people. However, the minister also stated that there is still much to be studied. “It’s just that knowing that you have these antibodies will help us understand more in the future, if you have a lower risk of getting coronavirus , dying from coronavirus and transmitting coronavirus,” said Hancock.