Recovered from Covid-19, Is the Body So Corona Invulnerable? This is the Word of Experts
Illustration of corona virus (Shutterstock)
Increasingly, patients recovering from Covid-19 disease in Indonesia and the world continues to grow. This is certainly very encouraging, but it also leaves one big question: Does a person recovering from Covid-19 get immunity from this disease? If so, how long does the immunity last? Unfortunately, until now there has been no clear answer to this question, although there are many experts who assume that you will get certain immunity after being exposed to Covid-19. Eric Vivier, an immunology professor at the public hospital in Marseilles, France, explained to AFP that when the body develops an immune response to a virus and remembers it, the immune system will prevent you from becoming infected with the same virus later on.
This applies to diseases such as measles, where patients who recover become immune to this disease for the rest of their lives. However, against RNA-based viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19, it takes three weeks for the body to build up an adequate amount of antibodies. Even that protection might only last for a few weeks, Vivier added. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Emergency Program, agreed, although he also added that there is still much that scientists have not known about this corona virus and the immunity that occurs after infection. He said, we expect a decent period of protection, but it is very difficult to confirm with this new virus. "We can only guess based on other corona viruses, but the data is quite limited," he said. To note, immunity obtained after being infected with SARS, a disease that had become epidemic in 2002-2003, on average only lasted for 3 years. After three years have passed, former SARS patients can still be infected with the disease again.
On the other hand, reports from South Korea show that there are some cases where patients who are considered "cured" from the corona virus and show negative test results, become positive again when retested. Although it does not rule out the possibility of recurring infection, Francois Balloux as director of the Genetics Institute at University College London believes that a more likely scenario is relapse. Balloux explained that maybe the virus actually didn't really disappear and became dormant and asymptomatic. Moreover, tests for corona viruses and antibodies have not been perfect, so there is a possibility that patients who are tested show false negative results (false negative). However, if this is true, it means that the corona virus patient has been infected for a long time. "That's not ideal," Balloux added.
The efforts of experts
Of course, experts continue to investigate this. A recently published study from China, for example, found that rhesus monkeys recovering from SARS-CoV-2 were no longer infected when exposed to the same virus. However, this study does not prove that the same thing can happen to humans. Meanwhile, another pre-published study of 175 patients recovering from corona in Shanghai showed different concentrations of antibodies after 10-15 days showing symptoms. "However, whether the antibody response means immunity is a different question," said Maria Van Kerhove, Technical Lead of the WHO Emergencies Program. He continued, that is something we must understand - what kind of antibody response means immunity (to SARS-CoV-2).
Facing this ignorance, some experts also doubt the "herd immunity" strategy, in which the majority of the world's citizens are left infected with the corona virus to become immune and the virus cannot find new victims. "The only correct solution at this time is a vaccine," said Archie Clements, a professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.