“The research shows that the antibodies to corona, in particular, go down quickly after the infection. This happens after a few months, which is fast,” said virologist Marion Koopmans, member of the Outbreak Management Team. This means that you may become infected again, even if you have already been ill.
Koopmans refers to new British research, among 65 corona patients. 60 percent of these people had many antibodies three to four weeks after the infection, but two months later this was only 16 percent.
The research has not yet been tested by colleagues, as is usual with scientific publications, but according to Koopmans it is reliable.
Current approach is sensible
The study was prompted by the behavior of other coronaviruses. The coronavirus we are dealing with right now is called SARS-CoV-2, but this is just one of many corona viruses in existence. Most have been around for years and only have mild colds. Also, they can often make you sick more than once.
This new research suggests that this is also the case with SARS-CoV-2. “That is not to say that people who have had the virus have no protection at all,” says Koopmans. “But it agrees that how we approach the virus now is sensible. Namely, you can’t count on long-term protection if you get it.”
At the moment, no Dutch cases are known at the RIVM of people who have been infected twice with the coronavirus, but they do monitor it closely, a spokesperson says. “What could also be that people are tested in a period when the virus is still in the body. Then you are better but not completely virus-free. That is difficult to test.”