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Are recovered coronavirus patients immune to the second infection?

, Are recovered coronavirus patients immune to a second infection?

This is a fundamental question in the fight against the global epidemic, the answer to which has not yet been decided, even if scientists hope that the infected people will be immunized against the virus for a few months.   COVID-19 antibodies? A study of 175 patients who recovered in Shanghai and released their results in early April without scientific review found that most patients produced antibodies 10 to 15 days after the onset of the disease, with varying degrees of intensity. variables.     But Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, who is responsible for fighting the epidemic at the World Health Organization, said: "Whether antibodies mean immunity is a completely different matter."  Expressing his concerns, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, head of the Scientific Council in France, said: "We wonder if a person infected with COVID-19 is in fact under active protection".  Frederick Tangi, Pasteur Institute researcher went further, saying, "We don't know if the antibodies we secrete against the virus are a risk factor that worsens the disease," noting that the worst symptoms of the epidemic appear late in the infection when the patient has secreted antibodies.  Besides, there is currently no conclusive evidence as to which groups develop more effective antibodies against the disease, whether they are the most seriously ill or the best protected against the virus, the elderly or the young. and other criteria.

This is a fundamental question in the fight against the global epidemic, the answer has not yet been decided, even if scientists hope that the infected people will be immunized against the virus for a few months.


COVID-19 antibodies?

A study of 175 patients who recovered in Shanghai and released their results in early April without scientific review found that most patients produced antibodies 10 to 15 days after the onset of the disease, with varying degrees of intensity variables.

But Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, who is responsible for fighting the epidemic at the World Health Organization, said: "Whether antibodies mean immunity is a completely different matter."

Expressing his concerns, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, head of the Scientific Council in France, said: "We wonder if a person infected with COVID-19 is in fact under active protection".

Frederick Tangi, Pasteur Institute researcher, says, "We don't know if the antibodies we secrete against the virus are a risk factor that worsens the disease," noting that the worst symptoms of the epidemic appear late in the infection when the patient has secreted antibodies.
Besides, there is currently no conclusive evidence as to which groups develop more effective antibodies against the disease, whether they are the most seriously ill or the best protected against the virus, the elderly or the young and other criteria.

Given all this ambiguity, how correct is the solution to "mass immunity" by spreading the infection widely, so that the epidemic stops as the people who can be transmitted are exhausted?

"The only solution is a vaccine," said Archie Clements, an epidemiologist at Curtin University in Australia.

Despite all this, serological test campaigns are carried out to monitor antibodies to identify the proportion of people infected, which is probably very low. This is the case in Finland, the United Kingdom, and Germany, where a research center has launched a vaccination-type "passport," which allows people whose positive tests have been resumed to resume their activities.

But Dr. Saad Omar, director of the Yale Institute of Global Health, told AFP: "It is too early," calling for a few months to wait for more reliable results "when we have serological tests. ' Sufficient precision and skill. "

In this regard, the researchers point out that the results of these tests should be limited to the emerging Coronavirus, regardless of antibodies to other non-dangerous spreading coronaviruses, which corrupts their results.

Beyond these scientific considerations, some researchers point out that these certificates of immunity pose ethical problems.

Professor François Malo of University College London warned that "people who need to work for their families can look for an infection."

The same question asked earlier: are recovered coronavirus patients immune to the second infection?

Other experts responded, and their opinion was somewhat different, as did their response:

Eric Vivier, professor of immunology at the General Authority of the hospitals of Marseille, explained: "The acquisition of immunity means that a person has developed an immune response against a virus which will allow him to eliminate it. As the immune response has a memory, so it doesn't get infected with the same virus later. "
In general, when infected with RNA viruses, such as the SARS-Cove-2 virus, known as the emerging Coronavirus, it takes "about three weeks to obtain a sufficient amount of protective antibodies," and this protection lasts for several months.

But this remains purely theoretical, while the new virus that is currently spreading still carries a lot of mystery, allowing nothing to confirm.
"We don't know, and we can only generalize from other coronaviruses, and even for these viruses, the data available is limited," said Mike Ryan, director of emergency programs at the World Health Organization.

Professor François Malo at the University of London reported that for the SARS virus, that caused approximately 800 deaths worldwide in 2002-2003. The patients who recovered were protected against the disease "for an average of two to three years," and therefore, "You can certainly be infected again, but the question is how long? And that is what we will only know retroactively."

A recent Chinese study not examined by other scientists has shown that the monkeys that contracted the virus and recovered from it did not get the infection again.
But "that doesn't mean anything" in the long term, according to the researcher at the Institut Pasteur by Frédéric Tangi, because the study was conducted over a relatively short period, doesn't exceed one month.

In this context, the information received from Asia, in particular from South Korea, on the authority of several people who have shown tests for infection with the virus after recovering, raises many questions. Experts believe that this could theoretically indicate a second infection, and they consider this highly unlikely, and they are currently in favor of other hypotheses.
Professor François Malo added that it is possible for some patients that the virus is not eliminated and causes a "chronic" infection similar to the virus that causes herpes, which can remain latent without causing symptoms in the pregnant person.

It is also possible, he said, that the patient is not mostly healed and that the results of tests that have shown that he is cured are incorrect since tests to detect the new Coronavirus are not entirely reliable. He added, stressing, "This may suggest that people remain able to transmit the infection for a long time, for a few weeks, and it's not a matter of comfort."

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