Once you’ve caught the coronavirus are you immune or can you catch it again?
Our immune system is our body’s defence against any infection - the immune system is split into two parts.
The first part is known as the innate immune response and it leaps into action as soon as a foreign invader is detected in the body. It releases chemicals that cause inflammation and white blood cells that can destroy infected cells.
However, this system will not give immunity to the coronavirus.
The adaptive immune response is then called into action. Cells that produce targeted antibodies stick to the virus in order to stop it and cellular response can attack cells that are infected by the virus.
Studies suggest that it takes ten days to start making antibodies that can target the coronavirus and the people who are the sickest with the virus to develop a strong immune response.
If the immune response is strong enough then it could leave a lasting memory of the infection and give immunity for the future.
It is not known whether people that have experienced mild to no symptoms are immune to future infection.
As Sars-CoV-2 is a new virus, it is not known how long immunity will last.
There have been reports of people having multiple coronavirus symptoms over a short period of time and believe to have had the virus twice.
The scientific consensus to this issue is testing and patients were being incorrectly told that they were free of the virus.
Every patient will have some antibodies but not all are equal. Neutralising antibodies are the ones that will stick to the coronavirus and are able to stop it infecting other cells. However, a study of 175 patients who have recovered in China showed 30 percent had very low levels of neutralising antibodies.
One person may be protected due to antibodies but it does not mean they are immune from spreading the virus to others.
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