Coronavirus immunity can last as little as six months – raising new doubts about ‘immunity passports’
Immunity to coronavirus could last only six months, research shows, raising new doubts about ministers ‘plans to give survivors’ immunity passports
- Researchers regularly tested 10 men on four coronaviruses for 35 years
- They found that they were reinfected regularly after 12 months and antibodies were lowered significantly after six months
- Matt Hancock said ministers are looking at a ‘certification system’ to indicate that those who are safe return to work
- Here’s how you can help people affected by Covid-19
Humans may be immune to coronaviruses for only six months, which raises the question of whether ‘immunity passports’ can be a way out.
Over the course of 35 years, researchers at the University of Amsterdam regularly tested 10 men on four coronaviruses.
The four coronaviruses cause colds and, according to research, there was ‘an alarmingly short duration of protective immunity’, The Times reported.
They said that people were often reinfected with the virus after 12 months, and significantly reduced antibody levels after six months.
Researchers from the University of Amsterdam said that antibody testing to estimate how many people were infected would become of limited use
Health Minister Matt Hancock announced during the Downing Street briefing on Thursday that the government has signed a contract for 10 million antibody test kits.
He emphasized the science of how people develop immunity and how long it lasts was still emerging.
He confirmed that ministers are already working on a “certification system” that could identify people who are safe to return to work and mix freely with others.
The researchers from the University of Amsterdam said that antibody testing to estimate how many people were infected would become of limited use.
Health Minister Matt Hancock said ministers look at a ‘certification system’ to indicate that those who are safe return to work
It comes when Oxford University started recruiting for large-scale trials for their coronavirus vaccine.
The study suggests that people should get the shot every year to be immune to the bug.
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed and did not include women.
Professor Lia van der Hoek, one of the researchers involved in the study, told The Times: ‘Herd immunity is a problem, even with vaccination, because it may be that people can get an infection again in six to 12 months . However, it is uncertain what kind of disease is associated with re-infection by Sars-CoV-2, which is of course a great uncertainty. ‘
It comes when Oxford University started recruiting for large-scale trials for their coronavirus vaccine
University of Reading virologist Ian Jones added that other research suggests longer-term immunity, as some cause only mild disease that may not cause great immunity.
He added that if the protection was partial, it would be difficult to score.
Mr. Hancock said, “We are developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test and to develop certification systems to ensure that people with positive antibodies can have certainty about what they can do safely.”
He added, “We can’t yet say that those who test positive in these antibody tests are immune to coronavirus.
“But as our understanding of the disease improves, the understanding that these antibody tests provide will be crucial.”