A person could be re-infected with coronavirus in six months, new research suggests, in a blow to the push for “immunity passports” as evidence of recovery from the illness.
The research was released after the government announced the supply of 10 million antibody tests to show if someone has had COVID-19 and potentially developed immunity to the virus.
Over 35 years, University of Amsterdam scientists regularly tested 10 men for four types of coronaviruses which cause the common cold.
Most participants – aged between 27 and 66 – caught the viruses again within three years, with the study concluding “coronavirus protective immunity is short-lasting”.
“We saw frequent reinfection after 12 months post infection and substantial reduction in antibody levels as soon as six months post-infection,” the study stated.
Between 1985 and 2020, the subjects were tested at either three month or six month intervals. Researchers found that high antibody levels “were never sustained at the next visit”.
While acknowledging limitations to the study, its conclusion casts doubt on the reliability of so-called “immunity passports”.
The proposed passports would be issued to people who have already overcome a COVID-19 infection and test positive for antibodies – based on the assumption they are therefore immune.
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