An international team of scientists examined blood samples that 10 people donated over 35 years and found that the “relatives” of the new coronavirus most likely do not create a lasting immune response.
As part of the study, published in the journal Nature, scientists analyzed 513 blood samples from 10 participants in the Amsterdam Cohort Study (ACS) on HIV and AIDS, which began in the 1980s to determine risk factors and prevalence of the disease. All volunteers donated blood every three to six months. Scientists re-tested the samples for the presence of four seasonal coronaviruses known as HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, and HcoV-HKU1, as well as antibodies that target the protein hard coat that surrounds the virus RNA.
The team found that during the study period, each participant “caught” coronaviruses from 3 to 17 times, and re-infection occurred within a year, and sometimes after 6-9 months.
“We saw that reinfection is common for all four seasonal coronaviruses and we assume that this is a common feature for all human coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2,” the authors write, noting that there is no data yet on whether the new coronavirus can cause re-infection as often as its more harmless “relatives”. In addition, fluctuations in the level of antibodies do not mean that if a person is reinfected again, they will definitely get sick. It is possible that the detected amount of antibodies is sufficient to transform an acute respiratory disease into a mild runny nose, scientists say.
During the study, the authors also became convinced that coronavirus infections are most often activated during the winter months and suggested that COVID-19 will also become a seasonal infection in the future.
Although we get sick more often in winter, we are not “infected” by drafts or cold. The common cold, like the flu, is caused by viruses. Let’s discuss some scientific assumptions why we are less resistant to infection in the cold season.
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