The emergence of a handful of people reinfected by SARS-Cov-2 — including individuals in Hong Kong, Italy and the U.S. — has sparked panic over the future course of the pandemic.
A study on the pandemic in Iceland published in the New England Journal of Medicine offers some evidence to dispel such fears. The researchers have looked at serum samples from 30,576 individuals, using six different types of antibody testing (since different techniques often produce conflicting results).
The paper’s central findings are that, out of 1,797 tested people who’d recovered from COVID, 91.1 percent produced detectable levels of antibodies. Moreover, these levels hadn’t declined four months after the diagnosis. The immune response was higher among older individuals — who are at greater risk of developing a more dangerous form of the coronavirus — and among those who presented the worst symptoms.
But the broader immune response is potentially good news for the efficacy of any vaccine and appears to confirm that reinfections, at least shortly after the first illness, may indeed be rare.
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