Scientists are starting to get a better understanding of the coronavirus which is responsible for COVID-19 – SARS-CoV-2.
At the moment, there are two key unknowns about the new coronavirus which will affect how the pandemic is going to progress.
One is that we don’t know how long immunity lasts for. When patients recover from other coronaviruses which regularly cause common colds – OC43 and HKU1 – they stay immune for less than a year. But immunity against the first SARS virus from 2003 lasts for much longer.
While the antibodies which provide the body’s immune response remain in a person’s blood, to protect against future infection, their strength may reduce over time.
Understanding how long immunity against SARS-CoV-2 lasts matters because this will determine how frequent new outbreaks will be – there could be anything from a seasonal infection to decades-long quiet spells.
Now, scientists and experts may be beginning to get a better picture of the situation. The picture is still imperfect and incomplete, but the experts are filling in gaps in our knowledge.
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