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Can You Get Reinfected With Covid 19? What we know so far

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

The fear of contracting the coronavirus is universal, even among those who have overcome the disease.

How long does the immunity of people who have already passed the covid last? It is a million-dollar question for hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

It is true that this curiosity is declining somewhat in recent weeks as the vaccination campaigns have been put to work in more than a hundred countries. Even so, and since universal immunization is still a long way off, many of those who have overcome the infection cling to the hope that their immunity will last.

This is one of the great unknowns surrounding SARS-CoV-2, and science has already yielded results in this regard. A study published in the journal ‘Immunity’ pointed to a duration greater than 220 days, a fact that coincides with an investigation by Sidi IrsiCaixa that fixes immunity at least six months.

Public health strategies

However, how long does immunity last to know if we can be reinfected is a recurring question, and that is why scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), belonging to the National Institutes of Health, have studied this issue in depth in collaboration with two healthcare data analytics companies (HealthVerity and Aetion, Inc.) and five commercial laboratories. The findings have been published in the journal “JAMA Internal Medicine’.

The scope of what was found transcends scientific curiosity. Norman Sharpless, the co-author of the study, trusts that “these results, in combination with those of other studies, serve as the basis for establishing public health policies.”

The work has been carried out on more than three million antibody tests carried out in the United States between the months of January and August 2020 and collected from medical records, insurance companies, and commercial laboratories, respecting the privacy law of the patients.

“The data from this study suggest that people with a positive commercial antibody test appear to have substantial immunity to SARS-CoV-2, which means they may have a lower risk of future infection,” explains Dr. Lynne Penberthy, director of the study.

Now, he adds, “additional research is needed to understand how long this protection lasts, who may have limited immunity, and how comorbidities in the patient may affect the duration of this protection.”

A curious fact: obesity and Vitamin D deficiency rates were slightly higher (approximately 2%) in the seropositive group, which is consistent with the information that indicates that obesity and a lack of vitamin D increase the risk of covid-19.

Positive tests

The three million tests collected in the NCI work represent slightly more than 50% of the commercial tests for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 that were carried out in the United States until August of last year. Of those, 12% were positive for novel coronavirus antibodies, 1% had a doubtful result, and the remaining 87% were negative.

Subsequently, 11% of the seropositive and 9.5% of the seronegative patients underwent periodic PCR tests (three, one each month, until more than 90 days from the initial test). The researchers found that, at each interval, CRP was positive in 3% – 4% of those who had a negative first antibody test. 

In contrast, among seropositives, the number of positive CRPs fell to 0.3% at three months (ten times lower than seronegative), highlighting the infrequency of a new SARS-CoV-2 infection. According to the authors, this last data coincides with the protection conferred by mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) in clinical trials.

The results published in ‘JAMA’ support the opinions expressed by such recognized voices, people who have already overcome covid-19 have protection, they are not a priority to receive the vaccine because it is highly unlikely that they will become infected again.

However, the authorities and scientists insist that all people, whether they have had covid or not, should be vaccinated, as it is the way to achieve the collective immunity necessary to replicate the pandemic.

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