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Studies show that COVID-19 may prevent reinfection – Sentinel and Enterprise

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By MARILYN MARCHIONE

Two new studies provide promising evidence that having COVID-19 may provide some protection against future infections. Researchers have found that people who make antibodies to the coronavirus are much less likely to be positive again for up to six months, and perhaps even longer.

This result is a precursor to vaccines that stimulate the immune system to make antibodies (substances that attach to the virus and help remove it).

Researchers have found that people with antibodies from natural infections have a “much lower risk of getting the virus again … the same kind of protection order that can be obtained from an effective vaccine,” Ned said. -Dr. Sharpless said. National Cancer Institute.

Reinfection is “very rare,” he said.

Laboratory research had nothing to do with cancer — many federal researchers have shifted to coronavirus research because of a pandemic.

Both studies used two types of tests. One is a blood test for antibodies, which can last for months after infection. Other types of tests use the nose or other samples to detect the virus itself or parts of the virus, suggesting current or recent infections.

A study published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine involved more than 12,500 healthcare workers at Oxford University Hospital in the United Kingdom. Of the 1,265 people who initially had coronavirus antibodies, only two tested positive for active infections in the next six months, neither of which developed symptoms. ..

This is in contrast to 11,364 workers who initially did not have antibodies. Of these, 223 were positive for infection in the next 6 months.

More than 3 million people who have undergone antibody testing from two private US laboratories participated in the US National Cancer Institute study. Only 0.3% of those who initially had antibodies were positive for the coronavirus, compared to 3% of those who did not have such antibodies.

“I’m very happy to see researchers at Oxford University see the same reduction in risk,” Sharpless said.

Reports from his institute have been posted on websites used by scientists to share their research and reviewed in major medical journals.

Joshua Wolf, an infectious disease specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, who was not involved in either study, said the findings were “not surprising, but people who are immune to the virus. I’m really relieved because I’ll tell you. “

He said the antibody itself may not provide protection and may be a sign that other parts of the immune system, such as T cells, can fight new exposure to the virus.

“I don’t know how long this immunity will last,” Wolf added. Since it has been confirmed that COVID-19 is infected multiple times, “We need to protect ourselves and others by preventing reinfection.”

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The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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