Oxford study notes that COVID-19 recovered have immunity for at least six months

People wearing protective masks walk on the street amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, on November 19, 2020. REUTERS / Issei Kato

A study published this Friday by the University of Oxford, England, ensures that people infected with the coronavirus have little chance of contracting the disease again for at least six months.

Conducted in collaboration with Oxford University Hospitals, this large-scale research on immunity to COVID-19 has not yet been independently reviewed.

If confirmed, their results would explain why, although 51 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus, cases of reinfection remain relatively few.

“We can be sure that, at least in the short term, most people who get COVID-19 will not get it again”Said Professor David Eyre, one of the authors of the research.

The study was based on coronavirus tests regularly performed on 12,180 healthcare workers at Oxford university hospitals over a 30-week period.

None of the 1,246 employees with antibodies developed a symptomatic infection and only three, without symptoms, tested positive for the virus a second time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the finding, assuring that it broadens its understanding of immunity against the coronavirus. “We commend the researchers for doing these studies,” Michael Ryan, head of the organization, told reporters in Geneva. And he considered that this finding makes “hope that there will be longer periods of protection” when a vaccine is available.

PHOTO FILE: A man walks past the buildings of the University of Oxford, England, on October 6, 2020. REUTERS / Matthew Childs
PHOTO FILE: A man walks past the buildings of the University of Oxford, England, on October 6, 2020. REUTERS / Matthew Childs

These results, however, contradict those of another British study, published in October by Imperial College London and the Ipsos Mori Institute, according to which the immunity acquired by people recovered from the coronavirus decreases “quite quickly”, particularly in asymptomatic patients. , and it could last only a few months.

And what happens beyond six months? The Oxford researchers said they had not yet gathered enough data to make a judgment about it. But nevertheless, its study has as final objective to verify how long immunity lasts in total.

Oxford vaccine advances

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford causes an immune response among older people, especially vulnerable to the virus, according to data published on Thursday confirming the advance in October.

These intermediate results nonetheless correspond to a less advanced phase of development (called phase 2) than those announced in recent days by the manufacturers BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna. The latter assured that their vaccine is 95% and 94.5% effective, respectively, based on results from the third and final phase of their clinical trials.

The findings of phase 2 of the AstraZeneca and Oxford project were published Thursday by the medical journal The Lancet. The vaccine elicits an immune response in people over 56 years of age that is identical to that aroused in younger people (18-55 years).

The researchers admit, however, that their study has its limits since the mean age of the oldest group of participants was 73-74 years and few had health problems.

With information from AFP

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