Immunity to Covid-19 may be lost in just a few months and it could be caught again like a common cold, new research suggests
- King’s College London scientists studied immunity in more than 90 patients
- Antibody levels lasted longest in patients who had the most severe cases
- The findings mean a vaccine may have to be reformulated every year
Immunity to Covid-19 might be lost within months, according to research.
The findings suggest that, like the common cold and flu, the virus could infect people on an annual basis.
This undermines ideas that herd immunity could be a way of defeating the virus.
King’s College London scientists looked at the immune response of more than 90 patients and healthcare workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust.
Immunity to Covid-19 might be lost within months according to new research which shows coronavirus could infect people on an annual basis like the common cold
They found antibody levels peaked three weeks after symptoms and then declined.
Lead author Dr Katie Doores told the Guardian: ‘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.’
This means antibody levels were highest and lasted longest in patients who had the most severe cases.
It also would mean that any protection from a vaccine may not be very long lasting and the vaccine may need to be reformulated every year.
The research suggests any protection from a vaccine may not be long lasting and the drug would have to be reformulated every year
But there remains a chance that even if antibody levels drop, the body could fight off the virus a second time using T-cells.
It comes as another study found more than half of hospitalised coronavirus patients given heart scans worldwide were found to have abnormalities.
Some 55 per cent of 1,261 patients from 69 countries had abnormal changes to the way their heart was pumping, with around one in seven showing evidence of severe dysfunction, the study, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation, found.
The majority of patients had never been diagnosed with heart problems before, leading scientists to conclude that Covid-19 may seriously affect the heart.