Covid-19 exposure doesn’t mean immunity, reinfections could be worse, study finds

Exposure to Covid-19 may not make a person immune to future infections, and actually a second infection of the coronavirus could be more severe than the first, according to a recent study published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

After catching a virus like the chicken pox, or after getting a vaccine, the body produces antibodies to fight against the virus, making the person immune to future infections. Some diseases confer lifelong immunity. It’s still unclear how long Covid-19 antibodies last, but research shows some people, in rare cases, get infected with Covid-19 a second time.

The study noted a case where a 25 year old American man from Nevada was infected with 2 different variants of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, within a 48-day time frame. The man’s second infection of the coronavirus was more severe and he needed to be hospitalised with oxygen support.

Lead study author from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, Mark Pandori, says more research needs to be done on the reinfections, especially since there still isn’t an effective vaccine.

“We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe.”

Reinfections are rare, with just a few confirmed cases out of tens of millions of Covid-19 cases around the world. Since coronavirus cases are asymptomatic, it’s unclear if some cases are actually reinfections.

Professor from Yale University’s Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology, Akiko Iwasaka, says the findings are “key to understanding which vaccines are capable of crossing that threshold to confer individual and herd immunity.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

View Comments

  • Recent studies in Europe confirms that Covid 19 is not lowering the index of contagious but is not longer causing the same deadly response as it was during the first period of the pandemic. The problem is not over but the risks are less dangerous of the previous period. Now the Thai government should accepts these studies and accepts also the fact that a balance between the health of economy and the health of the people is the correct approach. The lockdown of the borders is not longer sustainable. Tourists should just present a negative Covid test done at least 72 hours before the departure. There are airline to offer Covid insurance. The zero risk is not sustainable and realistic, this government should accept this fact and open the borders without further delay. The solution adopted by the government is worst that the problem caused by the pandemic infection.

    • With so much uncertainty of long term effects and reinfection, it's better to keep the borders closed for a few more month, Thailand is covid free and many lives have been saved, if they open now they won't get much tourist anyway due to no planes flying and fear of people, so why take the risk to bring the covid in, Thailand can handle a break in tourism it will restart as before when the time has come

  • "In rare cases"
    "just a few confirmed case of tens of millions."
    A big alarmist post and there is nothing to be alarmed about.
    Please - no more.

  • The Lancet has been exposed as a disreputable medical journal. They reported falsely that hydroxychloroquine was causing deaths and there are many other examples of fraudulent studies that contributed to the news media's political agenda and fear mongering. I don't believe any article that sources the lancet.

    • Yes, it took the Lancet 3 weeks to retract that particular study (and why was is there in the first place...?? How was it possible?), by then some scientists (reputable - not sold out to Big Pharma...well yes...) analised that during these 3 week, the rate mortality all over the world because of covid went up hugely (March)... Hydroxychloroquine was used in many countries then but then doctors, all over the world where this was used as a treatment, stopped giving it to patients because of that study (and it was purpose) but not all of them luckily and then it was announce as a "fraud" the Lancet!! That's the way it is...

  • Governments do not want to accept these recent studies. This might mean that the authorities need to give up some power and not abuse the populations. Allowing people to have freedom is so unlike police these days.

  • "The problem is not over but the risks are less dangerous of the previous period."

    According to who?

    According to what "studies"?

    A test done before departure is meaningless - at best impossible to verify and easy to fake by anyone with access to PhotoShop (ie anyone at all) and at worst out of date or inaccurate or both.

    A 3% inaccuracy would be 20 possible cases per flight - quarantine reduces this by a factor of over one thousand.

    "The solution is worst than the problem" ... for who?

    For the tourists, who understandably want to escape from the hell of lockdowns, closed schools, unis, bars, restaurants, dentists, gyms, beaches, and any 'normal' social life, and who want to enjoy themselves?

    Or for the Thais who are suffering from an inevitable and unavoidable recession, but who otherwise (apart from those unfortunately in the tourism industry) still have a normal life enjoying all the things the wannabe-tourists can't?

    Why should Thailand and the Thais risk their lives and their livelihoods, as well as their childrens' and their parents', just so some tourists can come here?

    Of course it's a problem for those in the tourist industry, but what about everyone else?

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