Too soon to say whether recovered COVID patients lose immunity with time, say scientists

NEW DELHI: Recent studies suggest that those recovering from COVID-19 may have antibodies for only a few months, a signal that long-term immunity is difficult to achieve, but several scientists dispel the gloom and say it is too soon to determine if such individuals can contract the disease again.
Some special cells of the immune system may still offer protection against the disease, the scientists said as questions swirl on whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 can get it again — even those whose antibodies dwindle progressively as the days and weeks pass.
It is too soon to say whether people with lowered levels of novel coronavirus-blocking antibody levels (nAbs) after recovery are at risk of contracting the COVID-19 disease on re-exposure to the virus, Vineeta Bal, an immunologist from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research in Pune, said.
“This pandemic is only six-seven months old, and reports of people testing positive for the virus for a second time, post-recovery, are mostly only from those who were first infected in January,” Bal said in a video interview.
The discussion – and disquiet amongst laypersons following news of the pandemic – intensified when a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, published in medRxiv last week, assessed 90 recovered COVID-19 patients in the UK and found their nAbs decreased between two fold and 23-fold during an 18-65 day follow-up period. (AGENCIES)