(WSYR-TV) — One of the biggest questions about coronavirus is if you can get it again. People who recovered from coronavirus were previously thought to be immune, but a new study finds that immunity may not last.
Researchers in London have tracked antibody levels in the British population following the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April.
They sent out home finger-prick tests to more than 365,000 randomly selected people. They found antibody levels dropped significantly over six months.
The results confirm earlier studies that showed people who did not have symptoms of COVID-19 are likely to lose antibodies sooner rather than those who had more severe infections.
Younger people who had recovered from COVID-19 had a slower loss of antibodies, compared to people older than 75 who had survived an infection.
And there was no change in levels of antibodies seen in healthcare workers, possibly due to repeated exposure to the virus.
The London researchers said that rapid decline in antibodies doesn’t necessarily have implications for the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines now being tested.
An American infectious disease specialist said the study suggests that at least where antibodies are concerned, COVID-19 acts like a cold. We know that you can get a cold more than once. So, regardless of a positive antibody test, everyone must keep wearing masks and keeping their distance.