No clear evidence that people who recover from COVID-19 are protected from second infection: WHO
Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) is raising serious caution to nations against the idea of ‘immunity passports’ and ‘risk-free certificates’.
It says there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected against a second infection.
WHO says in a scientific brief released Saturday that more research is needed. It says that, ”Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection. There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
WHO continues to review the evidence on antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“Most of these studies show that people who have recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus. However, some of these people have very low levels of neutralizing antibodies in their blood,4 suggesting that cellular immunity may also be critical for recovery. As of 24 April 2020, no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans.,” WHO’s scientific brief further stated.
The WHO scientific brief further stated that at this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate.” People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice. The use of such certificates may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission.