Re-infection with COVID-19 likely for unvaccinated people, study finds

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New modeling estimates suggest that natural immunity to COVID-19 infection wears off quickly, leaving individuals susceptible to reinfection, according to a study published Oct. 1 in The Microbe Lancet.

Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, based in New Haven, Connecticut, and the University of North Carolina, based in Charlotte, analyzed data on seven types of coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2 , the virus that causes COVID-19. They used this data, along with their knowledge of evolutionary principles, to model the risk of re-infection with COVID-19 in unvaccinated people.

Under endemic conditions, the reinfection projected by the model would probably occur between three and 63 months after the peak of the antibody response, the median duration being 16 months.

“Reinfection can reasonably occur in three months or less,” said senior author Jeffrey Townsend, PhD, Elihu professor of biostatistics at the Yale School of Public Health, in a press release. “Therefore, those who have been naturally infected should get vaccinated. A previous infection alone may offer very little long-term protection against subsequent infections.”

Researchers also predicted that reinfection would become “more and more common” as COVID-19 evolves into an endemic disease.

To view the full study, click here.


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