Today’s post is going to talk about immunity!
One of the big questions that has remained unanswered since the pandemic hit us, is “Does contracting COVID-19 mean I can’t get it a second time?”. Of course it is important to stress that we still do not know with 100% certainty, it can now be said that PROBABLY most people will be immune for some time after recovering from COVID-19.
Why “most people” and not “everyone”? A very small percentage of the people (only 2) who were part of an antibody study did not gain the expected antibodies against COVID-19. These two people were also a mother/daughter pair, so it’s possible that there were genetic reasons behind it.
Why are we only probably sure about immunity? It’s almost impossible to prove a thing doesn’t exist. Beyond that, the only study we are aware of that specifically tested against reinfection of COVID-19 was done with non-human primates. And while primates and humans are close in many ways, they also have a large number of differences. But the good news is that almost all humans tested appear to be producing all the expected antibodies, t-cells, etc, in order to be immune to catching covid-19 a second time. It is important to also say we still do not know how long immunity could last though. Here are some links that go into further depth on the topic:
Good News on the Human Immune Response to the Coronavirus
Study Finds Nearly Everyone Who Recovers From COVID-19 Makes Coronavirus Antibodies
SARS-CoV-2 infection protects against rechallenge in rhesus macaques
On the topic of immunity, let’s also look in on the country that has been pushing for keeping their businesses running and hoping for quicker herd immunity and a stronger economy through all this: Sweden.
Sweden has really stood out in Europe, and even the world, as a country that has taken few steps to curb COVID-19, while also keeping shops and businesses open more or less per normal. Unfortunately, while the goal was to aim for faster herd immunity and a more resilient economy, it doesn’t look like things are working out as Sweden hoped. Sweden is now in the midst of a “deep economic crisis“.
Beyond the economy issues that Sweden is facing, only about 7% of their population is showing antibodies against COVID-19, proving that the much hoped for herd immunity may not arrive in time to make a difference, or at all. And worse yet still, the toll in human lives continues to increase.
So the takeaway from all of the above is that while reinfection seems unlikely with COVID-19, the road to herd immunity is long and may only be possible with a vaccine. But at least the vaccine efforts are showing good progress so far.
That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!