It is highly unlikely to become reinfected with the coronavirus for at least six months after contracting the bug, according to a new study.
The research, which involved more than 12,000 front-line health care workers in Britain, found that just three of the 1,246 participants who had already developed COVID-19 antibodies retested positive for the virus — and they were all asymptomatic.
Of the 11,052 medical workers without antibodies, 89 developed an infection with symptoms and 79 developed an asymptomatic infection.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, covered a 30-week period between April and November 2020. It was uploaded on the preprint server MedRxiv Thursday.
“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.
“Being infected with COVID-19 does offer protection against reinfection for most people for at least six months.”
Eyre said the team of scientists will continue to monitor the health care workers.
“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,” he said.
The UK research is the second promising immunity study in recent days.
On Tuesday, scientists at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology in California found most of their original patients still have plenty of immunity to fight off another round of the coronavirus — indicating that immunity could last for years.
The pandemic has so far infected more than 57 million people worldwide, including more than 11.7 million people in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
With Post wires