A new study by researchers in the United Kingdom debunks the theory of herd immunity to the coronavirus as the study found that recovered coronavirus patients usually lose their immunity within a few months, The Guardian reported.
The first-of-its-kind study, carried out by King’s College in London, discovered that there was a steep drop in the amount of antibodies in the blood of recovered virus patients after only several months, with only 17% of patients stilll having a “potent” antibody response three months after their illness. Some patients had no detectable antibodies after three months.
“People are producing a reasonable antibody response to the virus, but it’s waning over a short period of time and depending on how high your peak is, that determines how long the antibodies are staying around,” said Dr. Katie Doores, lead author of the study.
The significance of the findings is that the coronavirus could turn out to be like a regular cold, which can be caught or a yearly basis or even more often. In that case, the only option for immunity to the coronavirus would be a vaccine but if antibodies drop so quickly, the vaccine would not have long-lasting effects.
“Infection tends to give you the best-case scenario for an antibody response, so if your infection is giving you antibody levels that wane in two to three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same thing,” said Doores. “People may need boosting and one shot might not be sufficient.”
Prof Jonathan Heeney, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, said: “It puts another nail in the coffin of the dangerous concept of herd immunity.”
“I cannot underscore how important it is that the public understands that getting infected by this virus is not a good thing. Some of the public, especially the youth, have become somewhat cavalier about getting infected, thinking that they would contribute to herd immunity. Not only will they place themselves at risk, and others, by getting infected, and losing immunity, they may even put themselves at greater risk of more severe lung disease if they get infected again in the years to come.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)