Covid reinfection is rare — but you’re more at risk if you’re over 65, study finds

Hugo Boserup, 22, is given a PCR coronavirus take a look at, as the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) continues, in Malibu, California, December 2, 2020.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

LONDON — Most individuals who have had Covid-19 are protected against catching it once more for at least six months, but aged sufferers are more vulnerable to reinfection, in accordance with peer-reviewed analysis revealed in The Lancet medical journal Wednesday night.

The first large-scale study on coronavirus reinfection charges was carried out in Denmark in 2020 with the findings confirming that solely a small proportion of individuals (0.65%) returned a constructive PCR take a look at twice. PCR exams are seen because the gold customary and inform you if you presently have the virus.

However, whereas prior an infection gave these underneath the age of 65 round 80% safety towards reinfection, for individuals aged 65 and older it conferred solely 47% safety, indicating that they’re more more likely to catch Covid-19 once more.

The authors of the study — which was carried out by researchers from the Staten Serum Institut and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Sweden, and obtained no funding — discovered no proof that safety towards reinfection declined inside a six-month follow-up interval.

The Lancet famous that the researchers’ findings validate methods which have prioritized defending aged individuals in the course of the pandemic, corresponding to enhanced social distancing and prioritization for vaccines, even for individuals who have recovered from Covid-19.

“The analysis also suggests that people who have had the virus should still be vaccinated, as natural protection – particularly among the elderly – cannot be relied upon,” The Lancet mentioned in a press launch on Wednesday.

To date, the coronavirus pandemic has induced over 120 million infections and over 2.6 million deaths, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University.

While there have been earlier research that urged that immunity to Covid-19, after prior an infection, might final at least six months, this newest analysis provides a greater indication of the extent of safety, and the way that differs between age teams.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Steen Ethelberg from the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, mentioned the analysis backed up earlier findings surrounding reinfection charges.

“Our study confirms what a number of others appeared to suggest: reinfection with Covid-19 is rare in younger, healthy people, but the elderly are at greater risk of catching it again. Since older people are also more likely to experience severe disease symptoms, and sadly die, our findings make clear how important it is to implement policies to protect the elderly during the pandemic.”

The study was carried out by researchers analyzing information collected as a part of Denmark’s nationwide coronavirus testing technique, by means of which more than two-thirds of the inhabitants (69%, round four million individuals) had been examined in 2020.

Free, nationwide PCR testing – open to anybody, no matter signs – is one of many central pillars of Denmark’s technique to manage the unfold of the virus.

Researchers then used this information, spanning the nation’s first and second waves of infections final yr, to estimate safety towards repeat an infection with the unique Covid-19 pressure. Ratios of constructive and unfavourable take a look at outcomes had been calculated taking account of variations in age, intercourse, and time since an infection, and these had been used to provide estimates of safety towards reinfection, The Lancet famous.

Further research wanted

It’s necessary to focus on that the authors be aware that the timeframe of their study meant it was not attainable to estimate safety towards reinfection with new variants of the virus that emerged late final yr. The variant found within the U.Okay. has since grow to be a dominant pressure in Europe, for instance, because it’s more transmissible.

Further research are wanted to evaluate how safety towards repeat an infection would possibly range with totally different strains of the virus, the medical journal famous.

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