Can You Catch Coronavirus More Than Once?

Can You Catch Coronavirus More Than Once?

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, there have been many unanswered questions about immunity and whether you can catch coronavirus more than once. With evidence being seemingly contradictory and ever changing. As it stands, the general outlook is that immunity to COVID-19 may be very short lived.

How does the body become immune to coronavirus infection?

Our immune system is our defence against disease – it leaps into action when our body comes into contact with infection. And it is much better equipped to deal with some viruses than others. COVID-19 is a new virus, meaning that collectively we have little or no immunity to the disease.

It can take around ten days before your body begins to develop antibodies that are effective at fighting off infection.

The immune system has a memory which is very similar to our own. Just as we have strong memories of some events, the immune system ‘remembers’ some infections and fights them off easily, whilst others are more ‘forgettable’. For example, measles is only usually caught once and your body develops a life-long immunity even with the weakened MMR vaccine, however things like tonsillitis and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can be caught over and over again within a short space of time.

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What does the current research say about catching coronavirus more than once?

King’s College London has been conducting a study how the body naturally fights off the COVID-19 virus and how long antibodies last in the body after recovery. Although initially 96 people in the study had “detectable” levels of antibodies, these were found to begin to drop after three months to a level that may not offer as much protection to future infections.

Click here to read the full report.

With SARS-CoV-2, it’s hard to know how long immunity lasts because it’s such a new virus, but we can use similar cold viruses to give us an idea of how likely it is for patients to be re-infected. Four of the most similar strains of the common cold are often caught time and time again. Whilst symptoms are often quite mild, the COVID-19 strain offers up much more severe symptoms, and that’s why the race to find a cure is more poignant and urgent than ever before.

It’s thought to be almost certain that life-time immunity is not likely, and in fact could be rather short lived.

This short-lived immunity is why the World Health Organisation is so nervous about rolling out the immunity passport system. Although China did introduce this a few months back, they have since had a surge in cases, which suggests that it’s not a fool-proof system. So, whether you’ve had the virus or not, it’s important that you wear a face covering such as the Virustatic Shield in order to keep both yourself and others safe from infection. For more information about the immunity passport system, click here.

What is herd immunity and is it possible for coronavirus?

In the early days of the pandemic, the British government talked a lot about developing herd immunity.  Whether through infection or vaccination, there is sense in the concept of developing herd immunity.

Although there is a chance that many people could develop symptoms of COVID-19 time and time again, with herd immunity it is most likely they will not be as severe. That said, contracting COVID-19 as a means to develop herd immunity might not be a great move. With diseases such as chicken pox, it does reduce the risk of more severe symptoms in later life, however with COVID-19, the risks of developing serious symptoms resulting in death are unknown and a very real risk.

Finding a coronavirus cure

With the fact that you can probably catch coronavirus more than once a threat that means the pandemic will not be short-lived, a cure appears to be the only way to get the infection rates under complete control. In the next few months, we can expect to see scientists worldwide, including our very own Virustatic team, working tirelessly to develop a cure which is effective against SARS-CoV-2.

Whilst localised outbreaks, such as the one in Leicester are very likely without social distancing measures being in place, there’s a lot we can do to prevent the spread of the virus in the meanwhile, such as wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing and keeping a safe distance from those that do not live in your household wherever possible.