People who have recovered from Covid-19 may have immunity to the virus for around five months, according to preliminary findings in a new study led by Public Health England (PHE).
The SIREN research examined the impact of infection on more than 20,000 health workers from across the UK and a pre-print of the study found only 44 cases among 6,614 people who were thought to have been previously infected.
The study -- which has not yet been peer reviewed -- concluded that past infection reduces the chances of catching the virus again by 83% for at least five months.
"About 6,000 of the healthcare workers were people who had evidence of having had SARS-CoV-2 infection... and about 14,000 of the healthcare workers were people who had no evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection," Tom Wingfield, senior clinical lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told the UK's Science Media Centre.
"The findings suggest that re-infection rates in the positive cohort were 83% lower than the negative cohort during the follow-up period."
But researchers warned that the protection was not total and that it was unclear how long any immunity lasts. They also said it's possible people who have a degree of immunity against the virus will still be able to transmit it to others.
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