Scientific studies and clinical practice show that among those who have been infected and vaccinated the possibility of reinfection with COVID is extremely low, and over time the virus will weaken and the disease will take a much milder form, Prof. Yakov Berkun, an Israeli immunologist and head of the department of Hadassah Ar A-Tsofim Clinic, told RIA Novosti.
“Since our whole epidemic lasts a year, there is good scientific data that says that in principle about a year of immunity holds up pretty well. Laboratory studies recently published tested 8 components of the immune response and showed that 7 of them persist an average of 8 months after infection. Our immunity is pretty long-lasting. At least 8 months, maybe we’re talking about years,” Berkun said.
The accumulated experience with the coronavirus allows the researchers to say that the percentage of reinfection among those who have been infected and vaccinated practically does not decrease over time and is somewhere around 0.01%, Berkun said. That conclusion was reached in particular by researchers who studied the experience of Qatar, a country with a small population and high infection rates in the first waves of the pandemic.
“About 1 person per thousand got infected a second time during the year. The other scientific work was even more interesting. They took those who had antibodies that were diagnosed. They checked how long these people were immune – in terms of their infectiousness. It also turned out that on average, one in a thousand got reinfected. Then they checked to see if the immunity had lost over time. They checked to see how long it took for a person to get reinfected. If they were infected after a long period of time, it would say that immunity declines over time, but it turned out that about the same percentage of people are reinfected throughout that period, that is, immunity is not lost,” said Berkun.
This persistent and long-lasting immunity allowed scientists from Atlanta (USA) to build an epidemiological model from which to conclude that over time, COVID will behave in the same way as other coronaviruses. The results have been published in Science.
“There are six different coronaviruses as of today. Of these, two were quite serious SARS and MERS, which caused epidemics and high mortality. They have been eradicated and have stopped spreading. And the other four cause a minimal runny nose, children get infected and get it easily, and we stay immune. We don’t even pay attention to the other four types of coronavirus that exist. According to their theory, this epidemic over time, when people get sick and are vaccinated, will well turn into a normal acute respiratory infection,” said the professor.
The new type of coronavirus is primarily dangerous to the elderly, and, according to the Israeli immunologist, once the elderly population is sickened and vaccinated, the coronavirus will also spread to children in a mild form, similar to the usual ARI.
“In any case, people who are vaccinated, even if the virus changes, those who have had the disease and are vaccinated – will give a partial immune response. And it won’t be a severe disease. My inclination is that even a mutated virus will not give such a severe disease. The disease will eventually become milder, turning into just an acute respiratory infection,” said the professor.
Accumulated over the past year Israeli clinical experience with COVID, according to the immunologist, also allows us to assert that the percentage of reinfection is extremely low, which gives experts hope that over time, the new type of coronavirus will weaken markedly.