One of the questions surrounding COVID-19 is whether those previously infected are now immune to further infection. Unfortunately, the answer is not simple as immunity after any infection can range from lifelong to nearly nonexistent.
Previous human-challenge studies with seasonal coronaviruses, as well as SARS and MERS antibody measurements suggest that COVID-19 infection might provide immunity for about a year. To understand more about immunity to this virus, studies to measure COVID-19 antibodies in previously infected patients are currently underway. Determining the link between antibody levels and an individual’s risk of getting reinfected as well their contagiousness to others will be crucial.
The long-term control of the virus depends on herd immunity, by getting a majority of people to become immune either through infection and recovery or through vaccination. The results of ongoing studies are greatly anticipated as they will inform government decisions regarding the transition to normal life. Several countries are already considering allowing those with COVID-19 antibodies to reenter society.