In most cases, when an individual gets infected with a disease, their body creates antibodies to protect them from the infection were it to occur again. However, researchers have discovered that while SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are protective, they don’t protect young individuals against reinfection. This can be observed in the findings of a longitudinal study that was conducted by scientists from the Naval Medical Research Center and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The study’s results were reported in “The Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal.”
The senior author of the study, Stuart Sealfon, stated that the findings indicate that SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in healthy young people was common. The professor of neurology explained that many young adults could catch the virus again as well as infect other people, despite having been infected previously. He asserted that this was a key point to note as vaccines continued to be administered; he noted that young individuals should get vaccinated if they could because this would not only decrease the rate of transmission but also hinder reinfection and improve immune responses.
The research was conducted between May and November 2020. The study involved more than 3,000 participants, the majority of whom were male Marine recruits aged 18 to 20 years of age. The research indicated that nearly 10% of the study population who had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 had contracted the virus once more, in comparison with the new infections observed in 50% of the study population who had not been infected by the virus prior to this.
The study also discovered that seropositive individuals, or those who had previously been infected by the virus, were still at risk of getting infected again while seronegative individuals, or those with new infections, had five times higher chance of getting infected by SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers studied the antibodies of the seropositive individuals in an attempt to understand why they got infected again. They discovered that those who got infected again had lower levels of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus compared to those of the seronegative individuals. Additionally, they found neutralizing antibody levels to be lower in the seropositive individuals.
In their report, the researchers note that their study had some limitations, among them the probability that it most likely underestimated the reinfection risk in seropositive individuals because it didn’t consider individuals with extremely low antibody levels following a prior infection. The authors suggest that young people who have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 infection be a vaccination target because this may hinder infection or transmission.
This study illustrates how important it is for policies to be data driven, and data analytics is exactly what companies such as RYAH Group Inc. (CSE: RYAH) rely upon in their quest to help the medical field have a smooth transition to telemedicine, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic, which has made close personal contact risky for medical workers and the people they serve.
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