COVID-19 Immunity: Is It Short-Lived?

By Shlomo Maital

    One crucial fact we need to know and understand about COVID-19 —  for those who have had it, and survived – are they immune?  For how long?

    Now comes a study from England, that is not good news at all.  According to Nicola Davis, writing in The Guardian:

The proportion of people in England with coronavirus antibodies dropped by more than a quarter in the space of three months, researchers have revealed, fueling concerns over reinfection.  The findings come from the React-2 study, which is based on home finger-prick antibody test results from random participants across all 314 local authorities.  The first results, based on data from 100,000 people, were released in August, revealing that about 6% of the population of England had the antibodies – protective proteins produced in response to an infection – although the team say that could be a slight underestimate.   The new work – not yet peer-reviewed – extends this with more testing in two fresh cohorts, each yielding results from more than 100,000 adults.  The results reveal that just 4.4% of those tested in the most recent round, between 15 and 28 September, had detectable coronavirus antibodies.

    “As a whole, these data suggest the possibility that decreasing population immunity will lead to an increased risk of reinfection as detectable antibodies decline in the population,” said Graham Cooke, co-author of the report and professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London.

 Apparently, too, the elderly lose immunity faster than do the young. 

 This does NOT mean that a  COVID-19 vaccine will be ineffective.  “… the new results do not necessarily mean that immunity arising from vaccination would be short-lived. A good vaccine may well be better than natural immunity.

 So what do the British results imply, for ordinary citizens?  I think they mean —  hunker down, everyone, this novel coronavirus is going to be with us for a long time, and we are going to have to learn to co-exist with it.   Masks, some social distancing, etc.  We are resilient. We CAN live with it. 

    The crucial point is,  to live with it, not die with it.  Those who scorn what science and public health tell us to do, are potentially guilty of “negligent homicide”, a well-defined crime in criminal law.