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Current Affairs

Protection against SARS-CoV-2 may be temporary

Date: 20 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

While it is generally known that protective immunity against the four species of common cold coronaviruses does not last for more than year, a study has revealed that re-infection with the same seasonal coronavirus occurred frequently.

 

Background

This observation suggests that the duration of protection against SARS-CoV-2 re-infection, too, may not be for long, and re-infection, which is a common feature of all human coronaviruses, might take place for SARS-CoV-2, too.

 

Details

  • The four common cold coronaviruses belong to two different genera and use different receptors found on different host cells that allow the virus to gain entry and infect the cells.

  • The key question centres around the duration of protection following an infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus.

  • Insights gained from the longitudinal study suggest re-infection with the same seasonal coronavirus occurred frequently around one year after previous infection.

  • The short duration of protection against seasonal coronaviruses re-infection might be applicable for SARS-CoV-2 virus too.

  • The findings of the study suggest that “caution may be needed” when coming up with policies by relying on long-term immunity either through natural infection or vaccination aimed at attaining herd immunity.

  • Since re-infection can occur, herd immunity by natural infection is unlikely to eliminate SARS-CoV-2. The only safe and effective way to achieve herd immunity is through vaccination.