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And should you be having an antibody test?
also suggested levels of antibodies that kill coronavirus waned during this time.
Dr Pimenta explains:”The problem with COVID is we aren’t sure that you become immune to it for a long time after you become infected. Other members of the coronavirus family, that cause common colds, don’t seem to produce immunity for a long time (
), meaning you could get it every year.
“There have been
several reports of reinfection
, so it does seem to be possible, although these are very small numbers so far and the individuals had very different reactions. In short, it is possible, but we don’t really know what this means yet.”
So essentially, you still need to be careful and follow all government advice, even if you believe you’ve already had coronavirus.
How do antibody tests work?
There is a way to increase your chance of knowing whether you’ve been infected: by taking an
“When you become infected with any virus your body fights back with two different systems,” Dr Pimenta explains.
The first is the ‘innate’ immune system, and is like a shotgun, ready to attack a new pathogen straight away but in a very blunt, scattershot fashion. Meanwhile, the body kicks in the ‘acquired’ immune system, which is a slower but a targeted, sniper-like attack, built specifically to the invading bug, through antibodies.
“Once established, these antibodies stick around, although they take up to a month to reach peak levels after infection.
“The antibody test looks for reaction to these antibodies, by showing them bits of the virus on a plate and assessing whether they stick. We can measure how much of these antibodies stick and that gives us an idea of the number of antibodies. Unfortunately, these
, so it’s unclear how useful these tests are to the public at this point in time.
Getting hold of an antibody test isn’t easy, either.
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