People may lose their immunity to coronavirus within just months, according to a study of a Guy’s and St Thomas’ patients and workers.
The finding, from a King’s College London study, raises the prospect that coronavirus could infect people seasonally like the common cold.
The longitudinal study, the first of its kind, found that while 60 per cent of people produced “potent” antibodies against coronavirus at the peak of their battle with the condition.
However, just 65 days later only 16.7 per cent of the more than 90 patients and staff followed had the same level of potency in their antibodies against the virus.
In some milder cases, antibodies became virtually undetectable after fifty days, “highlighting the transient nature of the [antibody] response towards SARS-CoV-2 in some individuals.”
The study is not yet peer reviewed.
“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,” Dr Katie Doores, lead author on the study, told The Guardian newspaper.
Dr Doores added this could also have further implications on the development of a vaccine, as if antibody responses decline after virus exposure it may take more than one shot of vaccine to “boost” people’s response to Covid.
Scientists at both Oxford and Imperial College Universities are in a race to develop an effective vaccine for coronavirus.
However, a vaccine is not thought likely to be fully developed for human use in 2020.