‘Currently no evidence’ that coronavirus survivors cannot be re-infected: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has cautioned in a new scientific briefing released on Saturday against the idea of “immunity passports”, saying there is currently no evidence that coronavirus survivors are protected from a second infection.

“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.” WHO said.

The Organisation’s warning comes in direct response to some governments suggesting that the detection of antibodies to the virus could serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate.”

These governments suggested that such passports or certificates could be a means to enable people to travel or to return to work assuming they cannot be re-infected. However, the WHO said more research on immunity is needed before this can be considered.

“At this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an ‘immunity passport’,” it said.

According to the WHO, people who assume that they are immune to a second coronavirus infection as they have received a positive antibody test result may ignore public health advice. As such, the use of such certificates at this point may also raise the risks of continued transmission, the organisation said.