A study undertaken by London’s imperial college found that immunity against the novel coronavirus depletes rapidly the following infection, scientists say after sampling the London population from the first-wave bout.
The study, announced Tuesday raises concern on the prospects of waning immunity of the virus in communities around the world, which has infected over 39 million people around the world.
The paper has been published in a pre-print version and is yet to be peer-reviewed.
Scientists from the Imperial College London tracked the levels of antibody in 365,000 Brits after the April-May first wave infection and found the levels have considerably depleted during the summer.
The study found antibodies fell from 6% in the end of June to 4.4% in September, as per the College.
“Our study shows that over time there is a reduction in the proportion of people testing positive for antibodies. It remains unclear what level of immunity antibodies provide, or for how long this immunity lasts,” Prof Paul Elliott, the study author said in a statement.
He added, testing positive for antibodies of the virus does not automatically ensure immunity from the same.
America’s CDC echoed similar results claiming 10X people have antibodies than officially reported cases.
An independent private Indian laboratory chain found almost 26% of 270,000 antibodies tested on an average had the novel coronavirus antibodies.
Similarly, a study conducted by an Icelandic firm, Decode Genetics, found there was no indication that depleting antibodies post-COVID-recovery meant decreased protection against the virus, We The World earlier reported.
“It remains unclear what level of immunity antibodies provide, or for how long this immunity lasts. If someone tests positive for antibodies, they still need to follow national guidelines including social distancing measures, getting a swab test if they have symptoms and wearing face coverings where required,” the director of the program, professor Paul Elliott said.
The UK is currently preparing for a second bout of the virus after suffering the first wave in March and April. Currently, the nation is announcing lockdowns in different cities to prevent the spread.
“On the balance of evidence, I would say, with what we know for other coronaviruses, it would look as if immunity declines away at the same rate as antibodies decline away, and that this is an indication of waning immunity at the population level,” Wendy Barclay, Head of Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London told reporters.
Reuters noted those whose infection was confirmed by the PCR testing showed a less steep decline in the presence of antibodies than those who were asymptomatic and were unaware of her infection.
But it must be noted, immunity on the novel virus is still a foggy area, with a lot of factors like the T-cells and B-cells determining a body’s immune response when contacted with the virus.
The study noted, frontline workers who were exposed to the virus continually had no change in the level of antibodies.