People who develop COVID-19 antibodies are unlikely to get the virus again for at least 6 months, a new Oxford University study of more than 12,000 people suggests

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  • A study by the University of Oxford has suggested people who develop COVID-19 antibodies are unlikely to get the virus again for at least six months after their first infection.
  • More than 12,000 frontline healthcare workers were tested for antibodies and examined over a 30-week period as part of the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed by other scientists.
  • Of the 11,052 participants without antibodies at the start of the study, 89 developed an infection with symptoms. None of the 1,246 staff with antibodies developed an infection with symptoms.
  • “This is really good news, because we can be confident that, at least in the short term, most people who get COVID-19 won’t get it again,” said David Eyre, a professor at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, who co-led the study, per Reuters.
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People who have caught COVID-19 and have antibodies are unlikely to get reinfected for at least six months, according to the results of a University of Oxford study published Friday.

As part of the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed by other scientists, 12,219 frontline healthcare workers at high risk of COVID-19 were tested for antibodies and examined over a 30-week period between April and November.

“Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection that generated antibody responses offered protection from reinfection for most people in the six months following infection,” the Oxford study said.

Antibody tests showed 1,246 workers had already developed antibodies to the virus by the time the study began in April. Over the trial period, only three of these people tested positive for a reinfection, but none developed COVID-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, 89 of 11,052 workers without antibodies later developed an infection with symptoms.

An additional 76 workers who had not been infected before and didn’t have the antibodies for COVID-19 tested positive, but were asymptomatic.

The study was published before review on the MedRxiv website.


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“This is really good news, because we can be confident that, at least in the short term, most people who get COVID-19 won’t get it again,” said David Eyre, a professor at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, who co-led the study, per Reuters.

“Being infected with COVID-19 does offer protection against reinfection for most people for at least six months,” Eyre said. “We found no new symptomatic infections in any of the participants who had tested positive for antibodies.”

It’s still unclear what proportion of people infected with COVID-19 produce antibodies. The Oxford study concluded: “Further work is required to determine the long-term duration and correlates of post-infection immunity.”

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