Reinfection rate, very low

Past COVID-19 infection provides some immunity but people may still carry and transmit virus (14th Jan)

PHE’s SIREN (SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection EvaluatioN

Since June, 102 NHS trusts

Regular antibody and PCR testing on 20,787 healthcare workers

Tested positive, 6,614 for COVID-19 upon recruitment.


Past coronavirus (COVID-19) infection provides some immunity

At least 5 months, antibody protection

People may still carry and transmit the virus.

May still be able carry the virus in their nose and throat

Therefore risk of transmission

New COVID-19 infections and antibodies

Nothing to do with vaccine immunity, that’s next

Naturally acquired immunity

Provide 83% protection against reinfection

Compared to people who have not had the disease before

Lasts at least for 5 months from first becoming sick


People infected in the first wave may now be vulnerable to catching it again

18 June to 24 November

N = 6,614 who had tested positive for antibodies

Detected 44 potential reinfections (2 ‘probable’ and 42 ‘possible’ reinfections)
The 2 ‘probable’ reinfections reported symptoms during the first wave, but were not tested at the time.

The 42 ‘possible’ cases were diagnosed only on antibodies

None of the 44 potential reinfection cases were PCR tested during the first wave,

but all tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies at the point of recruitment to the study.


Previous infection group

n = 6,614

44 infections

Reinfection rate = 0.66 %

30% symptomatic

No previous infection group

n = 14,173

318 infections

Infection rate = 2.24 %

78% symptomatic

This represents an 83% rate of protection from reinfection

If only the 2 ‘probable’ reinfections were confirmed, the rate would be 99%.

Both patients reported that their symptoms were less severe the second time.

Some protection from becoming ill with COVID-19

Some reinfections carry high levels of virus and could continue to transmit

Everyone continues to follow the rules

Professor Susan Hopkins

We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection,

but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts.

Crucially, we believe people may still be able to pass the virus on.

you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections

but there is still a risk that you could acquire an infection and transmit to others.

Now more than ever it is vital we all stay at home to protect our health service and save lives.

Prior to VOC202012/01

Current lab work, to what extent antibodies also provide protection from this variant?

Future analysis, impact of VOC202012/01 on symptomatic and asymptomatic infections in healthcare workers.

World Health Organization

Team of 10 arrived in Wuhan

Months of negotiations between the WHO and Beijing

Interviews, research institutes, hospitals, market

Two weeks of quarantine

Rely upon samples and evidence provided by Chinese officials

Peter Ben Embarek

Could be a very long journey before we get a full understanding of what happened

I don’t think we will have clear answers after this initial mission, but we will be on the way

Wuhan, not necessarily where the virus originated


Next 11 days

Complete lockdown, curfew

Schools, restaurants, supermarkets closed – deliveries

Healthcare system overwhelmed

Almost half, not have enough cash to buy food until end of the lockdown period.

Importation of medical supplies.

Deaths will rise in coming days

Source: Dr. John Campbell

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