COVID-19 reinfection unlikely for at least 6 months, study finds

COVID-19 reinfection unlikely for at least 6 months, study finds
Laboratory assistant holds a tube with Russia's "Sputnik-V" vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition in Budapest. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 20 November 2020

COVID-19 reinfection unlikely for at least 6 months, study finds

COVID-19 reinfection unlikely for at least 6 months, study finds
  • None of the more than 1,000 people tested developed symptoms of the virus a second time
  • The findings will allay fears that people could quickly fall ill again after recovering from the virus

LONDON: People who’ve had COVID-19 are highly unlikely to contract it again for at least six months after their first infection, according to a British study of health care workers on the frontline of fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
“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.
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 health care 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.”
The study, part of a major staff testing program, 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 Its results have not peer-reviewed by other scientists but were published before review on the MedRxiv website.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.
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.
“We will continue to follow this cohort of staff carefully to see how long protection lasts and whether previous infection affects the severity of infection if people do get infected again,” Eyre said.


Gunmen shoot dead two Afghan women judges in Kabul

Gunmen shoot dead two Afghan women judges in Kabul
Updated 30 min ago

Gunmen shoot dead two Afghan women judges in Kabul

Gunmen shoot dead two Afghan women judges in Kabul
KABUL: Gunmen shot dead two Afghan women judges working for the Supreme Court during an early morning ambush in the country’s capital Sunday, officials said, as a wave of assassinations continues to rattle the nation.
The attack on the judges happened as they were traveling to their office in a court vehicle, Ahmad Fahim Qaweem, a spokesman for the court told AFP.
“Unfortunately, we have lost two women judges in today’s attack. Their driver is wounded,” Qaweem said.
“The vehicle was transporting the women judges to their office.”
There are more than 200 female judges working for the country’s top court, the spokesman added.
Kabul police confirmed the attack.
“They were judges working for the Supreme Court,” said Jamshid Rasuli, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.
Violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent months, especially in Kabul where a new trend of targeted killings of high-profile figures have sown fear and chaos in the restive city.
The latest attack comes just two days after the Pentagon announced it had cut troop levels in Afghanistan to 2,500, their lowest numbers during the nearly two decades of war.