A doctor at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer has tested positive again for the novel coronavirus – three months after recovering from her first infection, in April. She recovered and tested negative in May and June, but earlier this month, she came in contact with a confirmed patient and later tested positive for the virus.
The other case was documented in May, when a 45-year-old Arab Israeli woman tested positive for coronavirus after readmission to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera. This came one month after she was discharged, having twice tested negative for coronavirus.
The cases are some of a number of incidents of suspected reinfection that raise questions of how long immunity against this virus lasts.
Preliminary studies in China, Germany, the U.K. and elsewhere show that patients infected with the coronavirus develop protective antibodies as part of their immune system’s defenses. However, it seems that these antibodies last only a few months.
This detail has ramifications on development of potential COVID-19 vaccines. Stephen Griffin, a Leeds University associate professor of medicine, comments that COVID-19 vaccines “will either need to generate stronger and longer-lasting protection … or they may need to be given regularly.”