If you get the virus, are you then protected?

The WHO has said there is no evidence that those who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is currently no evidence to suggest that those who have had COVID-19 and recovered, are immune to catching it again. 

"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," the WHO said in a scientific brief on April 24. "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."

Alberta's top doctor also weighed in on the subject. "This is something we'll need to watch very closely," she said. "There is some animal model evidence to suggest that possibly there is some immunity." 

Despite that, she noted several reports from other countries where patients did test positive then negative, then positive again. 

"We don't know for sure whether or not they're potentially still shedding the virus after their initial acute illness or if they actually became infected again or if there is some latency period where the virus can reactivate," said Dr. Hinshaw. "We simply don't know enough at this time."

There is a push to start measuring immunity through blood tests in several provinces, including Alberta. A spokesperson for Alberta Health said "that the province's public health lab is also working with the National Microbiology Lab to validate multiple serological tests, which would only be used to determine past infection, not current ones."

Published By:
Emily Rendell-Watson

Emily Rendell-Watson

Monday, April 27, 2020

by Karen Unland




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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, see edmonton.ca/covid19, alberta.ca/covid19, canada.ca/covid19, and the World Health Organization.