God forbid, but lets say you have caught the COVID-19 virus and recovered – are you now immune for life, or could you catch it again? The short answer is complicated.
An infectious disease expert speculates that its possible that COVID-19 may never fully disappear, becoming endemic like the common cold. In this scenario, the virus is likely to make less of an impact as it is currently because more people will have immunity to it.
A vaccine works by mimicking the immune response of a naturally occurring infection. So you mimic that response and then your body become “used to” or immune to that infection.
There are four main sub-groupings of coronaviruses that account for about 10 to 30 percent of common colds. Most people have been exposed to these coronaviruses before and may have developed some immunity against one or more following infection. But immunity doesn’t appear to be lifelong, Ann Falsey, a professor of medicine at the University Of Rochester School Of Medicine, told NPR.
“Almost everybody walking around, if you were to test their blood right now, they would have some levels of antibody to the four different coronaviruses that are known,” she said, but added that “most respiratory viruses only give you a period of relative protection. I’m talking about a year or two, that’s what we know about the seasonal coronaviruses.”
Scientists and researchers agree that more testing needs to be done because the virus could mutate. A recent study conducted by Chinese scientists suggests that it has once already — meaning the same people infected once before could be infected again with a new strain, ultimately causing a second wave of illness. The severity could be weaker or the same. We honestly don’t know yet.
You know how it seems as though every year there’s a flu shot because there is a new strain of the flu? It’s sort of like that concept. If there is a new strain, your immune system that was immune to the old strain may not be immune to the new strain.
“We’ve gone back and gotten samples from patients who had SARS in 2003 and 2004, and as of this year, we can detect antibodies,” Stanley Perlman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa, also told NPR. “We think antibodies may be longer-lasting than we first thought, but not in everybody.”
Aside from scientific evidence and facts, there’s one person who says a whole group of people are immune: The governor of the central Mexican state of Puebla told reporters Wednesday that…