WHO says COVID-19 immunity may not last, additional studies needed

—UK study suggests antibodies may not last more than 3 months

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Scientists are now looking at the possibilities of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) antibodies that are said to give immunity, disintegrating over some time.

A study led by researchers from King’s College London in the United Kingdom which included ninety COVID-19 patients showed that 60 percent of persons developed antibodies in the first few weeks.

However, after three months, only 16 percent of those persons maintained high levels of the antibodies.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Monday, confirmed that immunity to the virus may diminish over time, however, the health organisation stated that it does not have all the answers as yet.

“What we don’t know is how strong that protection is and for how long that protection will last,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Technical Lead on COVID-19 stated.

She further stated, “there are several studies underway that are trying to answer these questions”.

Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme noted that while immunity is possible with some coronaviruses, it is not known if it is the same with this strain of the virus.

“We don’t know yet whether it’s possible with this particular virus […] We do know with other coronaviruses that is the case, and there is some data out there that may suggest that immunity will wane over time, but that is not fully known at this point,” said Dr. Ryan explained.

Persons who recover from the disease are therefore expected to maintain all public health protocols, as they may be prone to reinfection.

Experts believe governments should consider the study for COVID-19 response and also believe it will play a crucial role in vaccine development.