According to a survey of 20,000 British healthcare workers, this is the largest study to date. People who have been infected with the coronavirus are as protected from reinfection as those who have received the best Covid-19 vaccine. .
The Department of Public Health England regularly tested two groups of volunteers between June and November, including 6,000 health workers who had previously been infected with the coronavirus and 14,000 health workers who had not been infected with the coronavirus.
In the preliminary results released on Thursday, the two groups of infections were compared and it was found that the previous infections provided at least 83% protection against reinfection. Compared with the symptomatic Covid-1
Susan Hopkins, PHE’s senior medical consultant, said the infection provided her with effective (though not complete) reinfection prevention findings for at least five months, which made her “strongly encouraged.”
She said: “Natural infections look as good as vaccines, which is good news for people.”
Although the study is unable to provide data on possible protective measures for more than five months, Professor Hopkins is optimistic that at the beginning of last year’s pandemic, the duration of the process was “much longer than the months people have guessed “.
She said: “It will bring a certain degree of immunity to the community, thereby reducing transmission.”
In this study, 44 of the 6,000 previously infected people tested positive at least three months apart, indicating that they have “potentially been re-infected.” However, since genomic analysis cannot confirm that these two infections are caused by different viruses, they cannot be regarded as confirmed reinfections. Although researchers believe that in most cases, the same virus may have been incubated in the same person for a long time, but researchers believe that this is less likely.
Eleanor Riley, a professor of virology at the University of Edinburgh, said the research data also showed that people who have recovered from the Covid-19 virus are unlikely to unknowingly spread the virus to others because natural infections seem to be Provides approximately 75% protection against asymptomatic reinfection. She said: “In terms of the long-term trend of the pandemic, this is good news.”
Nevertheless, Professor Hopkins urged people to “don’t misunderstand these early discoveries.”
She said: “If you believe that you already have the disease and are protected, you can rest assured that a serious infection is extremely unlikely, but it is still possible to get infected and spread to others.”
The critical point for preliminary analysis in late November is still too early, so researchers cannot study the protection of the vaccine (how the first vaccine was approved for use in the UK in December) for the health workers in the research team.
Researchers are also unable to assess the impact of the new, more infectious B.1.1.7 variant on reinfection rates. PHE plans to expand the research project in the next three months to include 100,000 health workers and consider these two issues.