01/5Covid immunity may not last for too long, says new UK study

Even as COVID-19 cases rise every day, researchers continue to work 24×7 to develop a vaccine to fight the pandemic. Most recently, Russian scientists made headlines when they announced the completion of successful clinical trials of their homegrown vaccine. At least 5 other candidates are in advanced stages of vaccine development, with hopes of the public getting a vaccine before the year end, raising hopes that immunity against the deadly infection might be possible in the near future. However, our dream might just be shortlived as per a new study.

A study done out of a leading academic institution based out of London had made a startling revelation, finding that immunity driven by vaccines may just exist temporarily.

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02/5The study

For the same, scientists based out of King’s College London found out that people who have recovered from COVID-19 may begin to lose out on antibodies (i.e., the good cells garnering them protection) just three months after the infection. If this holds true, it might hold a clue to the fact that immunity against coronavirus may just be shortlived and most importantly, SARS-COV2 may just continue to affect population season after season, just like the common cold.

The claim of antibodies beginning to wane away may also brings to light the real purpose of a vaccine.

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03/5Vaccine may not provide immunity, study finds

For the study, scientists analyzed samples of 90 healthcare workers. It was observed that the level of antibodies in the patients peaked three weeks post-infection and slowly began to vanish.

According to the survey, while 60% of patients showed good antibody response during peak infection, only 17% amongst them continued to have the same antibody levels three months later.

It was also observed that depending on the person’s health, antibodies may fall as much as 23 folds and almost become undetectable.

The sample study was done to observe the possibility of herd immunity driven by a vaccine push for the community. Lead author, Dr Katie Doores said:

“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 around,”

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04/5How do antibodies protect us from infections?

Antibodies act as our body’s first line of defence against infection. Going by the study, if antibodies continue to wane and do not protect the body against reinfection, it might suggest the fact that COVID-19 could keep reinfecting people in waves and no vaccine could really provide long-term immunity against the infection.

A similar study on COVID-19’s reinfection wave was done by another group of scientists from the UK, some months back which suggested that the coronavirus could keep surfacing after season, just like a cold or the flu, and never really go away.

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05/5Can a stronger vaccine dose fight the virus?

The study follows observations from Oxford University-AstraZeneca’s vaccine trials, which suggested that the vaccine may be able to guarantee immunity for at least a year’s time.

Dr Doores also suggested that the world might need a stronger vaccine to fight any mutations, reinfections, adding that a single shot might not be sufficient:

“People may need boosting and one-shot might not be sufficient…Infection tends to give you the best-case scenario for antibody response, so if your infection is giving you antibody levels that wane in two to three months, the vaccine will potentially do the same thing,”

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