The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its quarantine recommendations last week to advise that individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 do not have to quarantine or get tested one more time for up to 90 days.
However, in a subsequent clarifying statement, the experts highlighted that it does not mean that people are immune to reinfection.
The information is the first acknowledgment of a defined immunity period for people who have recovered from the novel virus. Previous research has shown antibodies from recovered individuals will disappear in a few months. However, the federal scientists had not previously said what means for immunity.
According to a CDC spokesperson, it is unlikely to get reinfected or infect other people during these three months. However, he recommended those patients to keep their social distancing, wear masks, and practice good hand hygiene.
Professor William Schaffner specializing in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, pointed out that the antibodies can be correlated with the level of protection. However, there is no scientific proof for that yet. In any case, he recommended people with proven antibodies to keep wearing a facial covering.
What is the role of antibodies? When we have a cold or another virus, cells within our immune system produce antibodies to find and destroy the invader.
The newly-produced antibodies remain in our bodies once the virus to combat a potential second attack from the virus. This is not to say that we are immune to infection for a lifetime.
Some viruses can mutate to the extent that our immune system no longer recognizes them, and antibodies can disappear in time. Our immunity to measles or chickenpox lasts typically for life, but those are well-known diseases, and the researchers have substantial experience with them.
According to the scientists, several types of coronavirus, a family that includes the virus causing Covid-19 and some that cause the common cold, are capable of infecting the host repeatedly within a short period.
The nove virus emerged for the first time in the Chinese city of Wuhan in fall 2019. Therefore, it had not existed long enough for scientists to determine how long recovered patients can maintain immunity.
A recent study found that antibodies usually drop by half around the 2.5 month mark, while another showed that 90% of recovered individuals maintained some antibodies after three months.
What do you think? Should the government impose stricter rules for recovered Covid-19 patients?