As the continues on with its third national lockdown, there have been a recorded 3.2 million cases of COVID 19 in the UK to date (sadly resulting in 84,767 deaths). While some who've caught the virus have gone on to develop what's now known as Long Covid, others have made a full recovery and have since found themselves wondering 'How long are you immune to coronavirus for after catching it?'.
Now, a group of researchers from Siren believe they have the answer: 5 months. However, there's also no guarantee of not contracting the virus again themselves either – a report from Public Health England’s (PHE) Siren found that antibodies from a former case of COVID 19 provide 83% protection against a reinfection. They note that cases of reinfection are rare though.
The team who carried out the study, lead by Professor Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE, have also warned that even if a person is immune to the virus, they're still able to carry and transmit it to other people (meaning it's still just as important that they wear a face mask in public, observe social distancing measures, stay home if possible and wash their hands regularly).
Speaking about the research, as reported by ES, Professor Hopkins said, "This study has given us the clearest picture to date of the nature of antibody protection against COVID 19 but it is critical people do not misunderstand these early findings."
She added, "We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts. Crucially, we believe people may still be able to pass the virus on.
"This means, even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections, but there is still a risk that you could acquire an infection and transmit to others. Now, more than ever, it is vital we all stay at home to protect our health service and save lives."
The same group of researchers will be looking at the impact the vaccine has as time progresses.
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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